Posted at: 05/09/2014 8:21 AM
Updated at: 05/09/2014 8:27 AM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4
What if expectant mothers could touch their babies before they were born? An Albuquerque company is offering that experience using a new technology.
In recent years, 3-D ultrasounds have given parents a sneak peak at that precious face.
"There's always tears, and smiles, big smiles, and they're overwhelmed, just overwhelmed to see their baby for the first time on that screen," Renee McGuire said.
And the experience isn't just for moms—Daniel Lerma, a father of two, knows the feeling.
"Me personally with my babies, just looking at photographs of the ultrasound got me excited and I figured, 'Hey, you know, if I could hold my baby, touch his features...'" he said.
Lerma did some research and found a company in Japan making figurines from 3-D ultrasounds and charging a whopping $1,200.
Lerma figured he could offer the same thing at a lower price, and that's how Baby Sculpt was born.
Using a 3-D printer, Lerma takes a 3-D ultrasound scan and creates a lightweight figurine.
"The 3-D printer basically puts layers of material down, in this particular case, it's plastic," he said.
Renee McGuire from Sneak Peek Ultrasound specializes in ultrasound memorabilia and jumped right on board when Lerma brought her the model. She's the one who suggested he offer different skin tones.
Patients can get a model of their unborn baby's face and a variety of options for displaying it.
"This is new in the country absolutely, and some people would get a little freaked out. They say, 'It's a baby and it's weird,' so it's definitely not for everyone," Lerma said.
But he hopes with around 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year, plenty of parents will be interested in a preview and something to hold onto while they wait for the real thing.
"To me personally, it's just a lot better than just a photograph," Lerma said.
Baby Sculpt sells the figurine for $85 to those who purchase through Sneak Peek Ultrasound. That does not include the cost of the ultrasound.