Chromosome Screening Using Noninvasive Prenatal Testing Beyond Trisomy-21: What to Screen for and Why It Matters

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (1):8-21 (2018)
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Abstract

With the new and highly accurate noninvasive prenatal test, new options for screening become available. I contend that the current state of the art of NIPT is already in need of a thorough ethical investigation and that there are different points to consider before any chromosomal or subchromosomal condition is added to the screening panel of a publicly funded screening program. Moreover, the application of certain ethical principles makes the inclusion of some conditions unethical in a privately funded scheme, even if such screening would enhance a woman’s reproductive autonomy. On the one hand, a screening program aimed solely at the detection of Down syndrome is subject to the technological imperative and should be reassessed in the light of technologies that allow for the detection of conditions that are at least as severe. On the other hand, some chromosomal conditions should not be included in any screening programs, because this would violate certain ethical principles, such as the right of the future child to genetic privacy.

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