The fetal sculpturing process begins with either a CT scan or an MRI. The resulting images go through a transformative process that includes some fine-tuning in Autodesk Maya. The eventual result is an STL file suitable for 3D printing.

Once they have the STL file, the doctors use a stereolithography printer to produce the physical model. Stereolithography is the process of firing a laser beam or other light source within the proper UV spectrum into a photopolymer resin. The resin hardens and the fetus emerges one layer at a time.

Dos Santos and his team want the process to be available to everyone and they are working to keep production costs as low as possible. A life size 3D printed model of a fetus at 12 weeks costs about $200.


Fetus at 11 weeks.

Fasotec on the other hand, is working the opposite end of the spectrum. They cater to the curiosity of soon-to-be parents, with a price tag to match. For around $1000 parents can hire them to produce a scan-based sculpture of their fetus, encased in a clear resin that represents the mother's womb.

Fasotec's build process involves simultaneously spraying two resins, white for the baby and clear for the mother's belly.