Carolyn Yeo was 16 weeks pregnant and scared she may have a miscarriage when she decided to get a 3D ultrasound at a clinic in Pickering, Ont. as a way to commemorate her pregnancy. Little did she know, she was one of more than a dozen expectant mothers who appear to have been given an identical ultrasound photo from the same clinic.
“I wanted to get a picture in case something did happen and I’d have something tangible of the baby,” she said, adding she felt reassured when she got the photo back and her baby looked healthy.
“I thought the baby looked advanced for 16 weeks in the picture. … So I was a little surprised but I didn’t question anything because at the time everything seemed fine.
“But that wasn’t my baby and now I’m left with that uncertainty that I was hoping to not have after that ultrasound.”
Jenn Cusimano says she went to the same clinic, the BabyView 3D Prenatal Imaging, earlier this month to have a 3D ultrasound done, roughly a month after Yeo’s visit.
“It was amazing. I’ve even had family members say, ‘Oh it looks like the dad,'” she said. “I was so happy with the picture and I had been staring at it since I got it.”
Cusimano said she posted the picture on Facebook and then to an international group of about 1,500 women with babies due in September 2016, when someone noticed the similarities.
“I posted mine and then a few comments down Caroline posted her picture and said, ‘Didn’t I just see this picture posted above?’,” she said, adding that she also saw the same 3D image posted on the clinic’s website.
“So me and her started talking and it was very clear the picture was the exact same — everything, the nooks, crannies, everything.”
Cusimano said she was devastated but thought perhaps it was a mistake and has since started a Facebook group for other mothers to come forward with similar experiences. She added she had paid about $160 for a gender determination, two photos and a heart monitor.
“But I thought back to my experience waiting in the waiting room and there was just something not sitting right,” she said.
“So I posted the two pictures online and just asked other people’s advice, like ‘What do you think?’ And shortly after that my phone just blew up and people started coming forward saying, ‘I have that picture too.'”
Both mothers said they would be filing a police report, and Durham Regional Police Service spokesman Sgt. Bill Calder confirmed they were aware of the complaints.
“I’m very angry, I’m very frustrated. I think that taking advantage of people like this is terrible,” Yeo said.
“A lot of women pay a lot of money to go in and make that connection with their baby or to feel reassured that things look good.”
Yeo said she had a good experience with the clinic in 2013, but had heard the clinic had come under new management which may have played a part in the incident.
“I think ethically there has been something done wrong. I don’t know medically, because it’s not a medical ultrasound, but I do question,” Yeo said.
“I feel violated because I was given a false reassurance by this that the baby looked normal. I know it’s not a guarantee, I know that it’s not a medical ultrasound but at the same time it did provide reassurance for me, especially as a mom who was going through a lot of issues with the pregnancy.”
For its part, BabyView put out a statement on Facebook that apologized for the situation and blamed it on a computer glitch.
“Due to a technical issue with the printing services provided (which has been resolved), several of our clients have become concerned regarding their babies images,” the statement read.
“Babyview is more then happy to adjust the situation and offer a re-scan of the services which were provided or a refund the value of the package which included the pictures that they purchased during their visit. … Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience.”
The company declined a request for further comment from Global News when reached by phone Wednesday.
Yeo said she doesn’t know whose baby appears in the 3D ultrasound image and said her and her husband are in shock and disbelief that this could happen.
“I think that’s part of the ethical issue as well, that some child is being shared, their picture’s being shared and being given to strangers as someone else’s baby,” she said.
“We don’t know whose child this is so that’s upsetting to think that’s happening.”
With files from Angie Seth