Three dimensional ultrasound photos are becoming increasingly common, but a Japanese engineering company is using the technology to create statues from sonograms that some might consider embryo art.
The service, which is in collaboration with Hiroo Ladies clinic, began on July 30 and uses a technology called BioTexture that does 3D processing of the ultrasound image and then forms a model with a 3D printer.
The end result is a lifesize plastic model of an unborn child that Mom or Dad can hold before their unborn bun makes it out of the oven.
Fasotec spokesman Tomohiro Kinoshita said three women have taken advantage of the chance to own what amounts to a lucite-covered fetus snow globe.
"They said it felt great to see how their babies looked before birth, and to be able to actually hold the inside of their own body," he told DigInfo.TV. "They also enjoyed looking at the model after giving birth, thinking, 'This is how my baby looked inside me,' and recalling how it felt to be pregnant."
The fake fetus is marketed under the name “Tensi no Katachi,” or “Shape of an Angel,” and each one costs around $1,300, not counting the actual imaging, Mashable.com reports. Parents can opt for just a particular body part such as an ear or foot as well.
But while the company flack said the customers have been satisfied, pregnant women who viewed the video thought the concept was fetally flawed.
Jennifer Romensas, 29, from San Diego, said she'd never get one of the unborn child statues for a variety of reasons.
"It looks like a glob of Play-Doh," she told The Huffington Post. "Plus, I'm hesitant about 3D sonograms. My doctors told me not to do it because there's not enough research on them."
An expectant mother in Detroit who asked not to be identified because she hasn't announced her condition "and my mother-in-law would kill me" has a more aesthetic reaction.
"That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," said the mother, who is expecting twins in March. "You couldn't pay me to own one -- and I've had a trillion ultrasounds because I'm high risk anyway."
Lizzy Bellsmith, 34, of Hammond, Ind., finds the concept "creepy," but concedes other women like it.
"I imagine some women would be like, 'Here, hold my uterus,' said Bellsmith, who is due to give birth in September.
However, she predicts unforeseen consequences for parents who buy one.
"A couple of friends of mine have lost kids after birth. They'd hate to come home and see this on the mantel," she said. "Also, can you imagine a 4-year-old seeing this in the closet? He'll think it's a pickled fetus."