Touching the foetus

Holding your newborn baby is the culmination of months of wistful waiting. But what if you could hold the baby before it’s born?

The latest haptic scan technology allows parents-to-be to have a tactile experience of the unborn baby, through a robot arm.

"It's a pretty amazing experience. You can feel the nose and reach down and touch the lips," says company founder Tom Anderson.

Another company has taken it a step further, producing a plastic 3D model of the unborn foetus for parents to take home with them. 

While I gawp in amazement at the possibilities, my most powerful reaction is to ask ‘Why?’ Do we need to pre-empt that moment of meeting the living baby in the flesh? Are we so lacking in patience and imagination that we can’t wait for a month or two, with our scan videos as proof enough of the baby’s healthy growth?

Where the hell do you keep a plastic model of the foetus anyway? Next an entire industry will spring up of new ways to display your plastic foetus on the coffee table. Or perhaps we will start carryring them around as if they were real babies. If we programme them to cry and poop, we’ll be thoroughly disgruntled by the time the baby is born.

I love progress and technology, especially when it can advance the health of both the mother and the foetus. But when it comes to feeling the foetus, my vote is on the side of preserving a little mystique around that first physical, visceral meeting between parent and child.

Would you like to have a plastic model of your unborn foetus? Where would you keep it?
Read more by Adele Hamilton
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