Stop using ultrasound to determine sex of fetuses, urge doctors, radiologists
“Canada’s pregnancy specialists and the nation’s radiologists are calling for a halt on using ultrasound for the sole purpose of determining the sex of an unborn fetus.
In a new joint policy statement, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Association of Radiologists also say it could be considered unethical for private, commercial clinics to offer “entertainment” ultrasounds purely for the purpose of creating “keepsake” videos for expectant parents.
The position statement comes amid mounting concerns that in Canada, people are using ultrasound to determine the sex of a fetus early in pregnancy and to have it aborted if it is a girl.”
This video is a review of what science currently understands about the safety of prenatal ultrasonography.
The short version: medicine does not yet fully understand how ultrasound affects the body, and there has been little research into it. When a practitioner tells you that sonography is perfectly harmless/completely safe, that is not backed by scientific evidence.
Considering that almost every woman in the world gets an ultrasound (or more) during pregnancy, this is unacceptable.
Transvaginal ultrasound is when a sonographer inserts an ultrasound transducer into a woman’s vagina for internal imaging. They can detect a variety of conditions, including but not limiting to cancers or other growths, fluid deposits, bone damage, . . . it is useful for many valid diagnostic reasons.
There are, however, some risks associated with having the transducer closer to the fetus: One study detected damage in microvilli extracted from fetuses exposed to transabdominal ultrasound, but not transvaginal for the same duration: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11776185
[Influence of sonographic examination on embryo villi during early pregnancy].
To evaluate the effects of sonographic examination on embryo villi during early pregnancy.
Eighty early pregnant women intended for artificial abortion were divided into 4 groups: group I served as control, the remaining 3 groups underwent pelvic sonographic examination transabdominally for 10 minutes (group II), transvaginally for 3 minutes (group III) or for 10 minutes (group IV) respectively. After 1 hour embryo villi were obtained through artificial abortion and examined by electronic microscopy, biochemical methods and sister chromatid exchanges (SCE).
In group IV, but not group II, III, the embryo microvilli were found broken, lost and disarranged. The rough endoplasmic reticulum of trophoblasts expanded. Their malondial dehyde levels increased while the superoxide dismutase (SOD) decreased as compared with control (P < 0.01). There was no difference of SCE among these 4 groups.
It is recommended that sonographic examination should be done through abdominal approach for shorter than 10 minutes during early stage of pregnancy.