DoD: counseling needed for Down syndrome prenatal testing

On Monday, Veterans Day, I featured the prenatal testing guidelines for the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA). Those guidelines make clear the need for patient counseling when offering prenatal testing for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions. Continue Reading

Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening is not the Holy Grail, and it’s wrong to call it that–Part 2 of 2

In yesterday's post, I covered why it is factually wrong to call Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS) the "Holy Grail" of prenatal testing. Here's why it is ethically wrong to call it that. Continue Reading

You may decline prenatal testing, but you may be choosing to be sued if you do

Last week, Art Caplan, a well-known bioethicist, wrote a post for Harvard Law's Bill of Health blog. The post prompted one commenter to write, "Caplan, you are a laughable clown." Whatever did Caplan write? Continue Reading

What is the optimal prenatal testing protocol for Down syndrome?

Last week, both the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis (ISPD) issued position statements on the latest developments in prenatal testing for Down syndrome. I selected highlights here. In this post, I cover what the ISPD statement claims is "optimal" for prenatal testing for Down syndrome.  Continue Reading

Verinata’s Prenatal Testing Flow Chart: Unethical?

As I’ve mentioned before, on the home page there is a scroll of my twitter feed. Like this blog, I typically tweet about news related to Down syndrome and/or prenatal testing. But, sometimes Twitter’s 140-character limit is not enough to provide a thorough analysis of ethical issues. Verinata is a laboratory that developed its version of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), which has the brand name "verifi." Featured on its website is the following decision-making flow chart for prenatal Continue Reading

The Informed Consent Process: Voluntariness

There are many ethical issues involved with prenatal testing for Down syndrome. I hope in time to address as many as possible. To start with, however, is the ethical concept that commentators have cited as making the offering of prenatal testing a moral obligation: informed consent. Informed consent has a rich history that developed in the United States through court decisions and was codified as an international norm in The Nuremberg Code. Out of respect for an individual's autonomy--the Continue Reading