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?

  • Anna Karolina SierawskaEmail author
Review Article


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.


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



The author would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments that helped to improve the manuscript.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Services Research UnitUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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