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Ethical Dimensions of First-trimester Fetal Aneuploidy Screening

CHERVENAK, FRANK A. MD*; McCULLOUGH, LAURENCE B. PhD

Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology: March 2014 - Volume 57 - Issue 1 - p 226–231
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0000000000000014
Noninvasive Screening for Fetal Aneuploidies: Eliminating Unwanted Surprises

Noninvasive first-trimester fetal aneuploidy screening provides pregnant women with risk assessment information early in pregnancy. Noninvasive first-trimester aneuploidy screening includes imaging of the fetus and maternal serum analyte and assessment of fetal genetic material in the maternal circulation. The ethical challenges of noninvasive first-trimester fetal aneuploidy screening concern the physician’s role in the informed consent process for risk assessment, the goal of which is to empower pregnant women to make informed decisions about noninvasive aneuploidy screening. This article provides physicians with an ethical framework for the professionally responsible management of these ethical challenges and for those related to emerging technologies.

*Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York

Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

F.A.C. is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of Sequenom. The other author declares that there is nothing to disclose.

Correspondence: Frank A. Chervenak, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, 525 East 68th Street, M-724, P.O. Box 122, New York, NY. E-mail: fac2001@med.cornell.edu

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.