Medical practice

4D Ultrasound for sex determination

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Four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound (real-time volume sonography), a technology, started in developed world for encouraging  bonding of the parents with the fetus. It  is  widely been perceived to be  used for sex determination during pregnancy in India.

4D ultrasound or live 3D ultrasound provides  real lifelike foetal images in real time,  . It help doctors to see  congenital uterine anomalies, the endometrial cavity and  ectopic pregnancy among other things . In during pregnancy , it can be used to asses foetal anomalies involving the face, brain, thorax, heart, spine and limbs.


The problem statement

In developed world, there is no such issue like selective sex abortion, so the prenatal gender determination( sex determination before birth) is legal. 4D imaging technology offers the option of “Meet the Baby” ultrasound scans, which allow the parents and relatives to watch the intrauterine foetus in a comfortable family environment which is supposed to help in parental – foetal bonding and gender determination.

 4D ultrasound has rapidly spread in India, which most of the ultrasound centers are offering  at a premium price. These 3-D and 4-D ultrasound scans, enable a pregnant woman and her relative/attendant to see the foetus and possibly it’s  genital organs on the TV screen displaying the footage realtime, as the scan is performed.. There are valid concern from different quarters that these machines are been used to disclose the gender of the foetus to the parents, genital organs of the feotus are displayed on large TV  screens, either inadvertently or purposefully.  The major concerning fact is that this new technology does not concur with the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. It is well known that sex determination is criminal according to the PCPNDT Act and punishable with imprisonment and a fine .

4D ultrasound known to be safe though valid the risk–benefit studies on acoustic damage to fetus are yet to be reported. 



Profiteering from the overcharging of the fee seem to be the main driving force for proliferation of these centers, and propagation of this practice. The radiologists performing the scan  are often the mere employees, consequently not in position to resist these practices. 


Four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound (real-time volume sonography), which has been used in the West for the determination of gender as well as for bonding and entertainment of the parents, is  widely available in India. Clearer policy  guidelines to prevent its misuse in sex determination of fetus is the need of the hour.

Scientific studies report that most individuals (81%) say that they “learned something new” regarding their health, the last time they went online. The majority (80%) of people found the information through a search engine as reliable.

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