Ethical challenges in fetal surgery

Smajdor, Anna (2011) Ethical challenges in fetal surgery. Journal of Medical Ethics, 37 (2). pp. 88-91. ISSN 0306-6800

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Abstract

Fetal surgery has been practised for some decades now. However, it remains a highly complex area, both medically and ethically. This paper shows how the routine use of ultrasound has been a catalyst for fetal surgery, in creating new needs and new incentives for intervention. Some of the needs met by fetal surgery are those of parents and clinicians who experience stress while waiting for the birth of a fetus with known anomalies. The paper suggests that the role of technology and visualisation techniques in creating and meeting such new needs is ethically problematic. It then addresses the idea that fetal surgery should be restricted to interventions that are life-saving for the fetus, arguing that this restriction is unduly paternalistic. Fetal surgery poses challenges for an autonomy-based system of ethics. However, it is risky to circumvent these challenges by restricting the choices open to pregnant women, even when these choices appear excessively altruistic.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: bioethical issues,congenital abnormalities,female,fetal diseases,fetus,humans,informed consent,patient rights,personal autonomy,pregnancy,pregnant women,risk factors,ultrasonography, prenatal
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Laura Glibbery
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2011 14:46
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 16:39
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/29370
DOI: 10.1136/jme.2010.039537

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