Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, February 21, 2014

Culture Values vs Human Values

"What this means is that many couples who have two daughters and no son selectively get rid of female fetuses until they can ensure that their third-born child is a boy."
"Fetal ultra sound is a valuable tool in modern obstetrical care."
The Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial

"The fetus should not be exposed to ultrasound for commercial and entertainment purposes, and it could be considered unethical to perform these scans."
"[The technology should also never be used] for the sole purpose of determining fetal gender without a medical indication for that scan."
Joint policy statement, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada/Canadian Association of Radiologists
ultra sound
"Everybody wants to know, 'boy or girl?; Not just to start shopping ... it takes time to be mentally ready for the baby."
"It's very important to know. It helps people to prepare and be happy. Because sometimes daddy wanted a boy, and then he sees girl, and he's not happy, and it's no good for the family. In this case, it gives time to slowly be prepared."
"We strictly never, ever tell" before 20 weeks' gestation.
Alla Boulavkina, registered diagnostic medical sonographer, owner of Tri-Cities 3D Sono Image, Vancouver
3D Ultrasound Vancouver

Two issues pointed out by the professional health organizations, related to ultrasound and its use/misuse. One, the growing new status symbol of having and being able to show off a video, or three- and four-dimensional ultrasound pictures of expectant parents' babies in the womb, along with cellphone ring tones of a baby's fetal heartbeat, and live broadcasting to family and friends.

Prolonged exposure of the fetus to the high-frequency, low-energy sound waves emitted by ultrasounds are worrisome to health professionals, that they may have the potential to cause fetal abnormalities. No definitive proof yet exists, but recent animal-model studies report subtle effects on the development of the fetal brain.

The second issue is that of parents primarily of Indian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnam and Philippines extraction selecting for gender, using ultrasound to identify female fetuses, and then having them aborted in favour of trying again for a male child.

Because abortions are rarely performed in Canada after 24 weeks of pregnancy a position statement reflecting the opinion of the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists recommends that ultrasound results reflecting gender not be disclosed before 30 weeks of pregnancy "when an unquestioned abortion is all but impossible."

The assurances given by Alla Boulavkina, the owner in Vancouver of Tri-Cities 3D Sono Image ring hollow. Her very statements give testimony to her client base and their concerns.  She claims to limit exposure times "I know how to do it correctly". And offers gender determination only after 20 weeks' gestation.

Yet the demand for her service, she says modestly, is growing. In Vancouver with its high ratio of Canadians from India and China.

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