Fetal information as shared information: using NIPT to test for adult-onset conditions

Monash Bioethics Review 39 (Suppl 1):82-102 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The possibilities of non-invasive prenatal testing are expanding, and the use of NIPT for adult-onset conditions may become widely available in the near future. If parents use NIPT to test for these conditions, and the pregnancy is continued, they will have information about the child’s genetic predisposition from birth. In this paper, we argue that prospective parents should be able to access NIPT for an adult-onset condition, even when they have no intention to terminate the pregnancy. We begin by outlining the arguments against testing in such a situation, which generally apply the same considerations that apply in the predictive testing of a minor to the fetus in utero. We then contend, firstly, that there are important practical considerations that support availability of testing for prospective parents regardless of their stated intentions. Secondly, we object to the ethical equation of a fetus in utero with a minor. We base our analysis on a view of pregnancy that conceptualises the fetus as a part of the gestational parent, as opposed to the more common ‘container’ model of pregnancy. We suggest that fetal information is best conceptualised as shared information between the gestational parent and future child. Thus, it should be approached in similar ways as other kinds of shared information, where a person has a claim over their own information, but should be encouraged to consider the interests of other relevant parties.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,389

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Qualifying Choice: Ethical Reflection on the Scope of Prenatal Screening.Greg Stapleton - 2017 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 20 (2):195-205.
Is There a Duty to Share Genetic Information?S. Matthew Liao - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):306-309.


Added to PP

7 (#1,036,427)

6 months
2 (#276,905)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Were You a Part of Your Mother?Elselijn Kingma - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):609-646.
Lady Parts: The Metaphysics of Pregnancy.Elselijn Kingma - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:165-187.
Understanding the Abortion Argument.Roger Wertheimer - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):67-95.
The Right Not to Know: An Autonomy Based Approach.R. Andorno - 2004 - Journal of Medical Ethics 30 (5):435-439.

View all 16 references / Add more references