Prenatal ultrasound imaging is a commonly used technology in the obstetric practice and it allows to monitor the growth and health of the fetus throughout pregnancy. Ultrasound scans are images of both medical and societal importance: they have a high and acknowledged diagnostic value and they are well appreciated by prospective parents as pictures that show the corporeality of their baby before birth. Historically, ultrasound images have often been at the center of important ethical debates, and the development of new high definition imaging like 3D and 4D ultrasound seem to have increased the ethical dilemmas surrounding these particular images.
The main objective of the present research project is to investigate the ethical and societal issues related to 3D ultrasound imaging. Overall, the project will explore the perceived value and desirability of three-dimensional ultrasound technology in the obstetric practice, the ethical and emotional impact of ultrasounds on both prospective parents and obstetricians, and the ethical implications that the enhanced visualization of the fetus has in the obstetric practice.