Ethical considerations of early (first vs. second trimester) risk assessment disclosure for trisomy 21 and patient choice in screening versus diagnostic testing

Geeta Sharma, Laurence B. McCullough, Frank A. Chervenak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

We discuss the clinical implications regarding disclosure of risk assessment for trisomy 21 screening results in the first versus second trimester. Based on the ethical principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, and justice, we argue that routinely offering first trimester risk assessment in centers qualified to provide it is ethically obligatory and routinely withholding the results of first trimester risk assessment is ethically unjustified. As risk for trisomy 21 occurs along a continuum, no pregnant woman is without risk; thus, offering diagnostic testing to all women is ethically justified. Informed consent and personal choice regarding diagnostic testing and termination of pregnancy shape patients' decisions to undergo first trimester risk assessment for trisomy 21. Appropriate counseling is required to allow for individual choice regarding timing of disclosure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics
Volume145
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Risk assessment
  • Screening

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