An ethical critique of boutique fetal imaging: A case for the medicalization of fetal imaging

  • Chervenak F
  • McCullough L
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Abstract

There has been a resurgence of boutique fetal imaging (non-diagnostic use of ultrasound scanning to make images of the fetus) after earlier efforts of this type were stopped by the Food and Drug Administration. Boutique fetal imaging is a logical extension of critiques of the medicalization of pregnancy and other aspects of our lives. We address the ethical issues that are involved in boutique fetal imaging, which include blanket prescriptions, psychosocial risks to pregnant women, the misleading label of "baby pictures," impact on decisions to terminate a pregnancy that was discovered later to be complicated by an anomaly, lack of adequate informed consent, medical cosmesis, and economic conflicts of interest. We argue for the medicalization of fetal imaging and that boutique fetal imaging is unjustified ethically. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Baby picture
  • Boutique fetal imaging
  • Conflict of interest
  • Ethics
  • Ultrasound imaging

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Authors

  • Frank A. Chervenak

  • Laurence B. McCullough

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