Selective abortion on the basis of prenatal genetic diagnosis: ethical problems faced by the doctor

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Centrum för tillämpad etik


The modern world is facing a revolutionary development in the clinical medicine and biomedical sciences. Due to the different life supporting systems, it is easily possible to keep patients with severe diseases alive. With organ transplantation a lot of people, who would otherwise die can live long and happy lives. In vitro fertilization allows a woman to bear the child that is not genetically related to her. Due to the possibility of contraception, safe abortions and prenatal diagnosis, women and couples can make preferable choices concerning their future child. Such medical developments and improvements have a great impact on our life, and provoke a lot of ethical questions and moral dilemmas.

The aim of this thesis is to answer the question whether prenatal diagnosis can be justified as it mainly leads to the selective abortion, whether and when the fetus counts as a person and whether the prospective parents can perform selective abortion on the basis of fetal disability; and to discuss ethical problems that are experienced by the doctor, who brings the news into the family and what is his/her role in the decision-making process.

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