3-D Printer Makes Model Memento of Fetus for Parents

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-07_e730800687.jpgStockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Most parents have to wait until their child is born to see what they look like, but new technology is letting parents create 3-D models of their child’s face. The Japanese company Fasotec developed technology that uses ultrasound scans and a 3-D printer to create a life size mold of a fetus’ face according to WJBF-TV in Augusta, Ga.

Kyoko Aizaka had one made of her now 2-month-old son, Kyosuke, during her third trimester.

“When we did it I was eight months pregnant, so he already had a human shape and baby face,” Aizaka told WJBF-TV. “I wonder how I’d have felt if I’d seen him earlier in my pregnancy.”

While the models created from ultrasounds are more mementos than medical evidence, the same technology can be used to help doctors practice for surgery.

Tomohiro Kinoshita, of Fasotec, told WJBF-TV that the machine can also help with diagnosis or complicated surgeries. For example doctors can replicate an organ to practice a complicated operation before they even touch their patient.

“What’s amazing about this technology is if … you do a scanning, we can make whatever is in the scanning screen,” said Kinoshita.

3-D printers have increasingly been used in the medical field. Last year doctors were able to print a custom replacement jaw for a woman in the Netherlands from a 3-D printer.

The new technology may be impressive, but it is not cheap. Buying a mold of your child before they are born cost approximately $500 per model, a bit more than your average snapshot.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio