Jan 18, 2016 | By Kira

Finding out you are a parent-to-be is stressful enough, with a million and one decisions that need to be made, and each one potentially affecting your offspring’s health and happiness. Will they wear cloth or disposable diapers? Breastmilk or formula? And most importantly, will you choose to remember your darling unborn with a boring old 2D ultrasound photo, or with a life-size 3D printed fetus model you can actually old in your hands? Believe it or not, more than a quarter of UK parents would readily choose the latter.

Channel Mum, the UK’s most popular video-based parenting community and website, has just released its Hottest Parenting Trends of 2016, and and '3D printed foetuses' (the UK spelling of fetus) were number one on the list. Several 3D printing companies now offer this strange yet in-demand service.

They begin by converting ultrasound photos of the unborn baby into 3D models, which are then 3D printed into life-size, plastic replicas. Parents can opt to pay roughly $240 for a 3D printed bust, or up to $550 or more for a full-size, 8-inch body, with skin tone expertly matched to the parents’.

This isn’t a totally new application of 3D printing technology—in fact, we’ve been reporting on companies offering 3D printed fetuses since 2012! We saw 3D printed fetuses make headlines again in 2013; in 2014 with the launch of 3D Babies; and at least twice more in 2015 thanks to UK company Baby:Boo and Wolfprint’s 3D Printed Unborn Babies service.

However if Channel Mum is correct—and over 6,000 YouTube followers seem to believe they are—the trend is set to explode in 2016. In a small-scale study of 1,000 parents, 27% said they would consider getting a 3D model of their baby. “Modern mums and dads want to enjoy every experience of pregnancy and parenting, but also have a solid way to remember it that others can be part of too,” said Siobhan Freegard, Channel Mum founder.

Channel Mum also indicated that the 3D printed fetus craze is partially inspired by the trend of ‘gender-reveal’ parties in the US, where parents invite friends and families to announce the gender of their child (the 3D printed baby models can be designed with or without the genitals revealed). "What we’re seeing is parents connecting more than ever before with those around them,” said Freegard. "Our new trends show how you parent is no longer private but something to be shared with the whole world."

Additional trends from Channel Mum’s Parenting Predictions for 2016 include ‘granny adoption’, a Heartbeat Recording Kit, Dad labor videos, ‘Breast Friend’ nursing, and Star Wars baby names—some of which are endearing, others a little more off-putting, but all of which new parents hope will either make parenting easier, more healthful, or at the very least, more fun.

Whether you think the trend of 3D printed fetuses is more creepy than cute, or you would love the opportunity to hold your baby without, well, actually holding your baby, it’s just one of the many creative ways 3D printing technology is making its way to our everyday lives. Of course, beyond being a novelty, using advanced 3D scanning and 3D printing technology on unborn babies has several advantages within the medical community.

In the past, we have seen doctors use 3D printing to diagnose a facial deformity in utero and safeguard the baby before birth, as well as a 3D printed spina bifida treatment that could treat children who would otherwise be afflicted by debilitating pain, seizures and even paralysis. Finally, 3D printing technology allowed a blind mother-to-be to feel and ‘see’ her unborn baby’s face. Will 3D printed fetus models really do turn out to be the hottest parenting trend of 2016? I don't really care, as long as more positive and uplifting stories like these ones get to be shared.

You can watch Channel Mum's 2016 Parent Trends list below:

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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Stefan wrote at 2/29/2016 10:16:44 PM:

Nice and similar to the following service: "http://babyprint3d.de". Thanks for this review

Lea wrote at 1/29/2016 8:02:05 AM:

Good day, Could you possibly recommend a supplier and/or printer specs for a 3D printer which will print the babies?



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