A Canadian soldier stationed in Afghanistan will be able to witness his child's birth via videoconferencing thanks to a pilot project for military families.
The Saint-Agathe-des-Monts Hospital, north of Montreal, has agreed to broadcast the birth to Kandahar using a webcam that will allow the mother and father to talk to each other during her labour.
The soldier, who has asked not to be named, is scheduled to fly back to Quebec for the birth of his second child, due in December.
But there's a good chance he will be delayed, so he asked for videoconferencing so he canexperience the special day, said hospital spokesman Alain Paquette.
"It's exactly the same thing as a webcam on a computer. If you want to move a little bit, you will be able to do so on camera. The advantage is that they will be able to speak, they will be able to see each other, and really, be together in spite of tens of thousands of kilometres that separate them."
The idea blossomed into a pilot program for Canadian soldiers posted abroad. Videoconferencing is frequently used by soldiers in Afghanistan to talk to family and friends at home but it has never been used in a birth, Paquette said.
If this first birth on camera goes well, the hospital and the armed forces are willing to offer the service on a regular basis.