Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 279–286 | Cite as

Prenatal diagnosis: do prospective parents have the right not to know?

Review Article

Abstract

Prenatal diagnosis (PND) challenges the issue of parental autonomy. Two ethical aspects of the parental decision making process with reference to PND have been taken into consideration: the duty to know and the right not to know. Whilst the first approach has been widely discussed in literature, the latter seems to be overlooked. In order to find good moral reasons supporting the right not to know, firstly the duty to know approach was critically analysed. Subsequently, the emphasis was put on the unconditional parental love and the issue of child’s best interests as the features supporting parental right not to know. The clarification of what is good parenthood was presented as the best normative approach supporting the parental right not to know in case of PND. Apart from parental autonomy, raising the question of the right not to know is important in the debate about the place and role of people with disabilities in society.

Keywords

Prenatal diagnosis Right not to know Parenthood Child’s interest Disability 

References

  1. Andorno, R., and G. Laurie. 2004. The right not to know: An autonomy based approach. Journal of Medical Ethics 30(5): 435–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Babkina, N., and J.M. Graham Jr. 2014. New genetic testing in prenatal diagnosis. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 19(3): 214–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beauchamp, T., and J. Childress. 2009. Principles of biomedical ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Benn, P.A., and A.R. Chapman. 2009. Practical and ethical considerations of noninvasive prenatal diagnosis. JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association 301(20): 2154–2156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blustein, J. 1997. Procreation and parental responsibility. Journal of Social Philosophy 28(2): 79–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caughey, A.B., L.M. Hopkins, and M.E. Norton. 2007. Chorionic villus sampling compared with amniocentesis and the difference in the rate of pregnancy loss [16]. Obstetrics and Gynecology 109(1): 205–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Jong, A., W.J. Dondorp, C.E.M. De Die-Smulders, S.G.M. Frints, and G.M.W.R. de Wert. 2010. Non-invasive prenatal testing: Ethical issues explored. European Journal of Human Genetics 18(3): 272–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Denier, Y. 2006. Need or desire? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 20: 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dickens, B.M. 2014. Ethical and legal aspects of noninvasive prenatal genetic diagnosis. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 124(2): 181–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dworkin, R. 1994. Life’s dominion, 18. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  11. Frankfurt, H. 2004. The reasons of love. Princeton: University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Johanson, R., M. Newburn, and A. Macfarlane. 2002. Has the medicalisation of childbirth gone too far? British Medical Journal 324(7342): 892–895.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson, K., and J. Walmsley. 2010. People with Intelectual Disabilities. Towards a Good Life. University of Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  14. Jotkowitz, A., and A.Z. Zivotofsky. 2010. The ethics of abortions for fetuses with congenital abnormalities. European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology 152(2): 148–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kielstein, R., and H. Sass. 1992. Right not to know or duty to know? Prenatal screening for polycystic renal disease. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 17(4): 395–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mujezinovic, F., and Z. Alfirevic. 2007. Procedure-related complications of amniocentesis and chorionic villous sampling: A systematic review. Obstetrics and Gynecology 110(3): 687–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Procter, S.B., and C.G. Campbell. 2014. Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114(7): 1099–1103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Savulescu, J. 2002. Is there a “right not to be born”? Reproductive decision making, options and the right to information. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition 87(2): F72–F74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Savulescu, J., and G. Kahane. 2009. The moral obligation to create children with the best chance of the best life. Bioethics 23(5): 274–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schmitz, D. 2012. Terminating pregnancy after prenatal diagnosisdwith a little help of professional ethics? Journal of Medical Ethics 38(7): 399–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Steinbock, B. 2006. The morality of killing human embryos. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34(1): 26–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Strong, C. 1997. The moral status of preembryos, embryos, fetuses, and infants. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22(3): 457–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Takala, T., and M. Häyry. 2000. Genetic ignorance, moral obligations and social duties. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25(1): 107–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wallace, R.J. 2012. Duties of love. Aristotelian Society Supplementary 86: 175–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Williams, V. 2011. Disability and Discourse. Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  26. World Medical Association, 2005-last update, WMA Declaration of Lisbon on the Rights of the Patient. Available: http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/l4/ [08/11, 2014].

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Services Research UnitUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations