• Tue, Feb 4 - 6:00 pm ET

Who Cares If An Ultrasound Picture Is Fake, No One Can Make Out Your Baby Anyway

A private 4D ultrasound home business in Australia is being accused of giving women fake photos. My first reaction is – who cares if it’s fake? No one can ever make your baby out anyway. But the more I think about it, the more I can understand why some people would be distraught over this.

One woman claimed the eight images she received were clearly of different babies. She took to Facebook with her findings – and many other women who used the company came forward after realizing theirs were fakes as well.  More than 100 people have joined a ‘victim’s only group’ for people that believe they have been given false ultrasounds photographs of their unborn children. That business is clearly slimy, but a “victims only” group is a little much.

From Bunbury Mail:

Bunbury mother-of-one Catherine Osment paid for an ultrasound DVD and photographs of her unborn baby earlier this month.

She attended a private 4D ultrasound home business in Eaton on January 17.

When she received her photographs, she said it was “clearly obvious” all eight images were of different babies.

“I knew as soon as I opened them they were fake and it made me feel sick,” Mrs Osment said.

She told the Bunbury Mail she searched on the internet and found the same photographs in Google Images.

Mrs Osment said she took the photographs to Big W’s photo centre and was told some were printed before October last year, months before she had her scan.

Her partner had been planning to have the baby’s image tattooed on his chest in March but cancelled the appointment when he realised it could be fake.

An ultrasound tattoo? Is that a thing? The suspicion was posted on the Bunbury Crime Stoppers Facebook page – and hundreds of local mothers responded. Several mothers even compared photos in the comments, which they believed to be identical.

97530937While I’m not particularly attached to my ultrasound image and can afford to be flippant about it – I can imagine there are situations where this would be unbelievably awful. What if something happened to your child before she was born? What if that was the only image you had of what you thought was your baby? That would be terrible. Also, there is the little detail of whoever running this business being a total crook.

This home ultrasound business should be shuttered for good. I actually can’t even believe I just wrote that. Home ultrasound business are words that should not be strung together.  I guess I’m just one of those people who finds the obsession with ultrasound photos and sharing a little odd. I would definitely want my money back, but I don’t think I’d need to reach out to a victim’s only group.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • OhHeyDelilah

    HAHAHA I thought my ultrasound pics were probably fake too. They look like every other ultrasound picture of every other baby I’ve ever seen. I assumed there was just a single photo doing the rounds at every ultrasound clinic in the country :) In all seriousness though, I would be pretty pissed if I’d paid for a set of photos and got some bogus stock shot (my 20-week ultrasound cost nearly $400 – so I’d be shitty that I’d been ripped off). But other than that, I really think it’s true that all the pics look the same. I’m a bit whatever about the whole thing.

    • AmazingAsh

      Was it the doctor’s office that charged you $400?! That’s insane! I probably had five or six 3D/4D ultrasounds done when I was pregnant (I’d have to go count the DVDs), but I did it so often because it was, like, $50-$100 each time. I think they now do a 4D HD one, which is REALLY creepy.

      I had a 3D gender scan at 15 weeks and DS looked so scary! All bones and eww.

    • OhHeyDelilah

      Not sure where you are, but I’m in Australia, and we couldn’t get into the (public) hospital for the 20 week scan (they were booked out) so we were referred to a private clinic … where we paid $400 for something that would have cost $80 elsewhere. I tried to focus on how much we had SAVED to date (as in, imagine those people who have to go to these private clinics for every scan!) but I have to say, it still burned a bit when I handed over my credit card. They tried to make it seem like we were getting our money’s worth by giving us a million pictures, a video, blah blah blah – but only one of the pics was of the baby’s face – the rest was random shit like the bladder and the spine (ew) – seriously, who needs that?? And, like you, I looked at the 3D images and kind of wanted to barf :) They can keep the 4D one. I don’t need to see that!

    • kat

      My SIL’s really, really look like she just grabbed one from a textbook. My mom was there with her and swears it’s real and that she can pick out family resemblances (riiiiight) but I still wonder…

    • OhHeyDelilah

      Ha, yeah. My mum looked at the scan of our baby and said “Ohhh, she’s so beautiful, isn’t she?” And I had to laugh. Because that baby looked like every other baby I have ever seen in a scan photo, but mum was convinced that she was the most beautiful kid of all time.

  • Rachel Sea

    I am shocked that a completely unregulated business based on untrained laymen operating sensitive medical equipment has been unethical in their practices.

    • pixie

      Apparently the woman operating the “business” is claiming she’s going to sue for slander because she says she’s trained.

  • Mystik Spiral

    So on the downside, you got fake pictures of your fetal baby. On the upside, it caused your partner to rethink getting a FUCKING ULTRASOUND TATTOOED ON HIS CHEST!!!

    I think we can call this one a wash.

    • AlbinoWino

      Heh, can’t people get the tattoo of the kid when they’re a bit cuter and look more…..human?

    • Meg

      Honestly I have not seen a tattoo of a child that doesn’t look creepy and somewhat like a zombie.

    • MerlePerle

      Yeah, I haven’t seen many portraits done right either. A friend has his daughter’s baby feet tattood and even those look creepy!

    • K.

      Best. Comment. Ever.

    • Alexandra

      You win the internet today!! :)

  • Amber-leigh

    lol Ultrasound Tattoo, this shit is getting ridiculous

    on another note Big W is just the chain shop that they printed the photos out at not the ultrasound place :D

  • pineapplegrasss

    When you get an ultrasound, they print the pics right there from their machine. right in front of you. And then hand them to you. Duh. There’s no way its different in Australia or where ever. Did these women even see the ultrasound image at the time of the scan? They even did it that way in 1993 when I had my first Ultrasound ever.

    • pineapplegrasss

      I really don’t know the details, nor care to research them, but this sounds like one of the instances where the person is so dumb they almost deserve to be ripped off.

    • Rachel Sea

      I assume the machine looked something like this, so the “tech” had to print photos elsewhere. No printer capability, you see.

    • Natasha B

      I snort laughed so hard at this.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      They made something similar on Sprout the other day with cereal boxes and bluing blocks on and my son wanted to make one sooooo bad. Ugh. Too much work for mom, son.

    • Maria Guido

      hahahahahahaha

    • pixie

      I think they were given a DVD of the pictures. That’s what it said in the other article I read.

    • justhypatia

      Actually it depends. During my pregnancy last year I had both ones that printed at the machine and ones that were just linked up to a larger printer in another room.

    • JLH1986

      one of my friend’s doctors actually asked her if she wanted a print out or on a disc so she could have it but not have it on film. She opted for film but apparently that’s an option now?

  • Gangle

    I don’t even get 4D imaging. 4D foetuses creep me out.

    • AugustW

      It’s just a “live” moving shot of the 3d ultrasound. The 4th d is time.

    • Gangle

      exactly! 3D, 4D. It is all suuuper creepy. I prefer my ultrasound pics to be grainy and unidentifiable.

  • Natasha B

    I could see how this could really affect people. A very close friend of mine was pregnant with their third child (a girl, after 2 boys) and they did a whole DVD, 4D pics, even had baby’s heartbeat recorded and sewn in a teddy bear.
    Sadly, her baby was stillborn at 32weeks, so that is all they have of her. And to find those photos were fake would be heart wrenching.
    Also, people handed over straight cash for this-I’d be pretty pissed if they were fake.

    • Brainspace

      Omg, I can’t even imagine. How awful for her.

      As someone who’s spent the past year trying to conceive, unsuccessfully, I can see how people dealing with infertility would really be attached to the U/S. Still, I’d personally be leery of using any “medical” practice that wasn’t regulated.

    • Natasha B

      It has been rough on their family.
      I agree, I’ve noticed more of these clinics popping up in the US, but I think they’re regulated? But they aim these at susceptible, excited pregnant parents and then rip them off? Not cool.

    • Brainspace

      Definitely not cool.

      But I still giggle at the idea of a sonogram tattoo. Even when I see my eventual sea-monkey baby pic, I will still recognize its ultimate sea-monkiness.

    • Natasha B

      Oh def :) I’ve had a 4D ultrasound, at the dr, for monitoring of the baby, and yeahhhh….not something I would ever be tattooing on myself! They’re cool, but all babies look like aliens in womb.

    • AugustW

      They aren’t regulated. The biggest issue is if there is a legitimate medical issue and it’s missed because the person doing the scan isn’t medically trained.

    • Natasha B

      That is frightening. My impression was most of these ‘clinics’ were for the sole purpose of parent’s seeing/having memories of their baby in womb, I don’t think most of them go in expecting medical care. But people operating the machine should have some sort of training/licensing and you would think they would fall under small business regulations/codes.
      The only 3D/4D I’ve had done was at my OB office to monitor baby, not just for fun.

    • personal

      Good luck to you. We spent 9 years ttc before our first child was born. I will never forget how hard it was.
      And yes, I was extremely attached to our child’s ultrasound Images and would have been crushed (and outragously p.o.’d) to have discovered they were fake.

    • Brainspace

      Congrats to you for eventually conceiving! Right now we’re in testing mode, trying to narrow down a cause, but yeah, it’s ridiculously frustrating and upsetting. Screw you, universe.

    • Imalia

      Yes, this. My first son was stillborn at 30 weeks and two u/s pictures are the only ones I have of him “Alive”. I would be completely devestated to learn they weren’t him at all.

    • Natasha B

      I am so sorry for your loss, and my heart goes out to you. That would be so sad to have a memento like that sullied.

  • elle

    Am I the only one who watches tattoos after dark? There was like an 8 month pregnant lady who wanted to get her sonogram tattooed on her belly! Don’t worry the tattoo artist refused. But apparently sonogram tattoos are the new thing? I don’t know, I don’t get it.

    • MerlePerle

      Wait, she wanted to have her belly tattood while she was still pregnant? You’re not supposed to get any tattoos while you’re pregnant, right? Oh sure, let this needle put ink under my skin right above my unborn baby. Thank God the artist refused!

    • Alex Lee

      IANADoctor but I don’t believe the concern was the location of the tattoo – tattooing needles have nothing on an amniocentesis needle. Rather, the risk of infection should have been the main reason of refusing to tattoo the pregnant woman.

      For something as large as an ultrasound image on a belly, that’s a lot of skin to break up and expose to the elements.

    • MerlePerle

      I know it wasn’t actually about the location, but rather the risk of an infection etc. But just this thought of choosing this exact location while therey’s a baby in there is so bizzare to me.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Home ultrasound business….just….no. There’s your trouble right there.

  • AnastasiaMcNally

    Maria just to clarify- Big W in Australia is a big, chain store kind of like Walmart and each big W has a centre at the back with those printers that you can connect to your own phone/camera/USB/whatever, to print photos off for a fee. I don’t think the store had anything to do with this crazy woman aside from her using their facilities!

    • Maria Guido

      Ooh – thanks! I read that wrong. I’ll clarify.

    • Gangle

      Thank you! Please don’t petition to get Big Ws photocentre shut down. It means I would have to travel across town to print off my photos. I don’t want to have to go that far because I am horribly lazy.

  • Kay_Sue

    I…I was completely lost at the whole “was going to have this permanently affixed to his body” part. Just…no. No.

  • K.

    Who has a 4D ultrasound machine in their home?
    Who wants to tattoo a picture of their kid’s ultrasound onto their chest?
    Who starts a FB “victims page” for “victims” of fake-4D-home-ultrasound-technicians?

    So many questions…

  • Kim

    “An ultrasound tattoo? Is that a thing?”
    Time to play the “Well, they do live in Bunbury…” card?

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Yeah, I waited 20 weeks after my anatomy scan and got to see what Mini Keatres looked like in 3D for free.

    • Véronique Houde

      My doctor has a machine in his office and charges for all ultrasounds (or we can go to the hospital for free – but my private insurance reimburses my private ultrasound so I would rather do it with my doctor). With my first child, at the last ultrasound, he got a really good view of her face on the normal ultrasound, clicked a button, and her face popped up in 3d, and he proceeded to give us a bunch of snapshots without charging us what he usually charges for 3d, just because he thought they would make pretty pictures lol.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      I’d take it if it was free! I think in Idaho they only use the 3D if they think there’s like a cleft lip or something like that. All I could tell from the profile ultrasound was she had my button nose but that was good enough for me!

  • koolchicken

    I had one of those fancy ultrasounds. The hospital my husband worked at got one in and they were looking for women to practice on (mind you the techs were u/s trained, just not on the 3D/4D machines yet). So I went and we got tons of photos and video, I have to say my son looked and acted very like he did in his u/s after he was born (prematurely a couple of months later). We almost lost him too, his chance of survival was something like 5%. So if all I had of him were those photos and short videos, and I found they were fake…

    I think a victims support group sounds about right in that instance.

  • Aussiemum

    I was reading about this on my Facebook the other day, and some of the comments from the ladies ‘scammed’.
    First of all, 4d ultrasound is realativly new here, and only a few chicks I know have had the 3d ultrasound, so what makes you think that this woman can afford to have one of these machines IN HER HOUSE? There is only a few clinics in Perth (where I live and it’s the capital of the state) that offer to do them and they cost a bomb!
    Second, she lives in Bunbury and again, has one of these IN HER HOUSE! That place is like the country bumpkin cousin and I don’t think they even have a clinic in town that does these specific ultrasounds.
    I can’t believe that so many women where that stupid to hand over all that money for someone to do, what I consider to be a medical service, in her house. Dumbasses.

    • Gangle

      We have one of those 4D clinics in our city. The ladies in their designer maternity and Prados are the only ones who go it. I did think it was crazy that they thought that Bunbury of all places would even have this service… but then they did part with money and they were deceived. A scam is still a scam, even if the people being scammed did not do their due diligence by doing some sort of check on this ‘business’. They still deserve their money back, and the scam-artist still needs to be brought to task.

    • Aussiemum

      I agree wholeheartedly. And I hope the chick gets done for fraud. But I hope that all the ladies scammed realise now that it does sound quite absurd that it could be done out of someone’s house!

    • Gangle

      People can be surprisingly gullible over certain things… an excited pregnant woman who is looking for special (if creepy, in my opinion) keepsakes for example… and just look at all the people that actually fall for email scams about long-lost overseas relatives that suddenly die and leave them a fortune! It is insane, but I guess people must get excited and caught up in the moment.

    • Aussiemum

      I must say, I believed an email I got from the “tax department”. To be fair it was just after tax time! Hubs was just gobsmacked that I believed it and made me ring the real tax department to check before I did anything. Lucky hubs is cleverer than me :) and the real tax department doesn’t email stuff. As I now know!

    • Gangle

      Omg, I have had fake ATO emails too.. and fake bank emails. You have to be so careful!

    • Bic

      It may not be that strange to be fair. I’m in the UK and I’m sure somebody I know had a 4d scan at a “home clinic”, which admittedly did seem a bit strange. But I think most 4d scans are done at private clinics (Including one in mothercare apparently) rather than at a hospital.

  • Lackadaisical

    Personally I was happy to just have the free ultrasound image from the hospital for my eldest, which lived in a drawer and was only shown to grandparents. With my second and third kids I cared even less as having a kid already there was less if a sense of the unknown in the anticipation and I had already discovered how utterly meaningless I found ultrasound pictures when they had an actual real baby to go with them. I can understand an ultrasound meaning more if you tragically lost the baby, but I don’t think I would personally want reminders and keepsakes in that form as for me ultrasounds are all about the anticipation rather than the baby.

    Having said all that a business offering ultrasound pictures that gives you fakes is ghastly. I can see that anyone who does love ultrasound pictures would be feeling hurt and manipulated, and understandably so.

    Tattoo of an ultrasound on the dad’s chest? That would seem very wierd to me when the child is not only born but also grown up. What if they have other kids? I wonder if he would have to find room for other blurry pictures of the surface of mars … I mean pictures that obviously look like a baby and not just to the parents, no really. I also wonder if he would be able to remember which picture was of which child. If you hid all the clues of dates and names on the scan I would not be able to tell my kids scans from other scans and certainly not from each other.

  • Emme

    Deception and false identity… in a place called Bunbury. The literature geek inside me is still snickering.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Black and white babies all look the same

  • Alex Lee

    I may have photoshopped a snare drum and drumsticks into my son’s ultrasound picture…totally genuine otherwise.

    As fate would have it, he’s playing clarinet now.

  • SusannahJoy

    I was lucky enough to have a very large, completely benign cyst while pregnant. That sounds sarcastic, but really, it was awesome! I got to have so many ultrasounds! I don’t know what kind of machine she was using, but the ones at the hospital where I had mine she’d snap the picture and print it out right then and there, so there’s no way they could be fake.