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Paying for Scan Photos: Justified, or Emotional Blackmail?

22 March 2012 No Comment

How much did you have to pay, if anything, for a printed out ultrasound image of your baby? Our Parent Panel dad Ben Wakeling voices his opinion on whether charging parents to be for their baby scan pics is the right thing to do.

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As is so often the case in hospitals, we’re waiting. My wife and I, sat together on uncomfortable chairs, leafing through well-thumbed magazines from a decade ago as we wait to be called into the sonographer’s room for Jess’ 12-week ultrasound scan.

Exasperated, I chuck a tattered copy of ‘Woman’s Own’ onto the table, twiddle my thumbs and look around. My eyes alight upon a small, A5-size piece of green card which was stuck to the wall, the fluorescent lights glinting off its laminated sheen.


My jaw drops. This is our third child in the space of five years, and the cost of scan photos never ceases to amaze me. Five pounds for one photo? One photo where you can’t even make out your baby’s head in the mass of swirling black and grey? Not even the promise of three photos for a tenner makes me feel any less agitated.

I’m grown up enough to realise that nothing in this life comes for free, and I also realise that charging money for a photo is a good way for hospitals to make money, especially during these tough times. But it feels less like paying for a treasured photo and more like the hospital is emotionally blackmailing me into paying for a photo which I’ll probably hold upside down for most of the time.

As I normally do when irritated, I took to Twitter to voice my annoyance, and was met with a deluge of responses. It seems the majority of people agreed with me, which is a rare occurrence to say the least. Paying for scan photos is a form of emotional blackmail. The sonographers and hospital managers know full well that you are not going to reject your baby’s first photograph, however illegible it may be. As parents we’re meant to love our children unconditionally, which – it seems – means having to spend a small fortune on them before they’re even born.

There was the odd tweet or two which disagreed with me, and said that the hospital is perfectly justified in charging for photos; and, there were the smug tweeters who told me that their hospital either charged less for scan photos, or didn’t charge at all.

I can only voice my own opinion. Our baby’s scan photo now takes pride of place on a shelf in our living room, and my wife and I are both looking forward to our due date of 13th August. But I can’t help but feel a little ripped off. It was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to lose a few pounds; I just never thought it’d be pounds sterling.

How do you feel about paying for scan photos?

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