Expectant parents can now get 3D-printed models of their unborn child — and there are even gold-plated versions available. The process from Russian firm Embryo 3D uses ultrasound scans to create a plastic model of the fetus.
Incredible footage of the process shows a 3D printer at work creating a replica of the little human, including the most minute details like its tiny hands and feet, its umbilical cord and its face, Daily Mirror reported.
Embryo 3D head Ivan Gridin said the company is now able to make metal-plated versions as well, so parents can get themselves a little gold-plated or silver-plated fetus.
Expectant mother Yuliana Recu, who took part in the process in the Russian city of Ufa, said: "It is a weird feeling, the child hasn't been born yet, but you can touch it and feel it like it's here."
The idea came about when Gridin's friend was worried about the health of her unborn child. He explained: "I was fond of new technologies at that time and 3D-printing. And I said, 'Let's print it'."
He added: "Earlier we printed only from plastic, but now we are able to make plaster models and cover them with precious metals."
These 3D models are an advancement on the earlier practice of the use of 3D or 4D ultrasound to the see the development of the fetus in the womb.
In a publication by the Radiological Society of North America, Dr Deborah Levine said: "Patients, of course, love 3D pictures, but as radiologists, we have to be careful that we're not performing an ultrasound for the fun of it."