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G62(P) Bringing to birth a disabled child
  1. S Bird
  1. Neonatal, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS FT, Manchester, UK


Aim To explore legal, ethical and professional issues surrounding bringing to birth a disabled child.

Method Review of the literature

Results Incorporating ethical principles into a blanket right or wrong answer which could be applied to all is not possible. Many of the arguments both for and against require value judgments that different people will hold different values for. Ethics based on rights and duties; where there are numerous individuals involved such as antenatal screening, poses the question of whose rights are paramount. In English law, it remains illegal to end the life of a child with the capacity of being born, however there are loop holes in which a woman can exercise her autonomy. It is imperative that the medical profession ensure up-to-date and thorough information is available to women so they can make a truly informed decision about the future of their child.

Conclusion With the medical technology available today our capacity to predict the future disposition of a foetus and our ability to treat previously untreatable diseases must continue to influence our discussions both personally and professionally. It is of the authors view that a woman’s decision should be honoured, however it is essential that the potential parents understand what quality of life, if any, that child will have. They must take on parental responsibility and do what is in the best interest for their family and the potential child.

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