Ethical issues in genetic counseling: A comparison of M.S. counselor and medical geneticist perspectives
- 276 Downloads
New technologies available in the field of medical genetics have increased the importance of responsible ethical decision-making among genetic counselors. A 1985 national survey of M.D. and Ph.D. genetic counselors assessed ethical attitudes using case scenarios designed to simulate dilemmas faced in genetic counseling (Wertz and Fletcher, 1988b). The current study focuses on attitudes of M.S. genetic counselors using similar scenarios, allowing for effective comparisons. M.S. counselors were more willing than M.D. and Ph.D. counselors to maintain patient confidentiality when screening for Huntington's Disease and occupational diseases, and a greater number would agree to counsel patients pursuing prenatal testing for sex selection. A majority of M.S. counselors would disclose an XY karyotype to a phenotypically female patient. M.S. counselors reasoned that respect for patient autonomy and patient confidentiality justified their decisions in many cases. The importance of these principles is discussed and questioned.
Key wordsethical issues medical ethics genetic screening genetic counseling ethics
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Childress JF (1990) The place of autonomy in bioethics.Hastings Cent Rep 20(1):12–17.Google Scholar
- Fletcher JC, Berg K, Tranoy KE (1985) Ethical aspects of medical genetics.Clin Genet 27:199–205.Google Scholar
- Sorenson JR, Swazey JP, Scotch NA (1981)Reproductive Pasts, Reproductive Futures: Genetic Counseling and Its Effectiveness. Birth Defects: Original Article Series (Vol. XVII, No. 4). Alan R Liss, pp 1–14, 37–44.Google Scholar
- Wertz DC Fletcher JC (1988a) Attitudes of genetic counselors: A multinational survey.Am J Hum Genet 42:592–600.Google Scholar
- Wertz DC Fletcher JC (1988b) Ethics and medical genetics in the United States: A national survey.Am J Med Genet 29:815–827.Google Scholar
- Wertz DC, Fletcher JC (1989) Moral reasoning among medical geneticists in eighteen nations.Theoret Med 10(2):123–138.Google Scholar
- Yarborough M, Scott JA, Dixon LK (1989) The role of beneficence in clinical genetics: Non-directive counseling reconsidered.Theoret Med 10(2):139–149.Google Scholar