|dc.identifier.citation||Newson, A. (2011) “Preconception testing and screening: Has the HGC covered all the bases?”. BioNews, issue 617, 25 July. Available at: http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_102770.asp.||en_AU|
|dc.description.abstract||Has the Human Genetics Commission (HGC)'s recent report on population-wide preconception
genetic testing and screening (1) convincingly demonstrated that this practice raises 'no specific
ethical, legal or social principles' that would make population screening unacceptable?
In BioNews 606, I critiqued Dr Callum MacKellar's commentary on the report (2). At the end of my
commentary, I alluded to issues I think the HGC didn't address in enough depth. This doesn't mean
that preconception screening is unacceptable, but we should pay more attention to these issues
before introducing population-wide preconception screening.
I'm concerned about three things. First, the HGC has adopted an 'apple pie' version of reproductive
autonomy, viewing this concept as an intrinsic good (an issue Dr MacKellar also recognises). Second,
the Commission has failed to justify why it has decided to offer screening to mature school students.
Third, the HGC has glossed over the implications of communicating screening results to family
The HGC states that 'respect for reproductive autonomy implies that a range of reproductive options
should be available' (p1). They claim their proposals for population screening in young people are an
extension of screening pregnant women that will increase choice and enhance reproductive
autonomy. This seems to suggest that reproductive autonomy is an inherent good.
I don't wish to underplay the right of women or couples to make informed and free decisions before
and during pregnancy. But there is significant debate in bioethics and social science about the nature
of and appropriate limits to reproductive autonomy, for example the myriad discussions over how
women's decisions are influenced. The HGC report seems not to recognise these nuances.||en_AU|
|dc.description.sponsorship||This article was written by Dr Ainsley Newson during the time of her employment with the University of Bristol, UK (2006-2012). Self-archived in the Sydney eScholarship Repository with permission of Bristol University, Sept 2014.||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Progress Educational Trust||en_AU|
|dc.title||Preconception testing and screening: Has the HGC covered all the bases?||en_AU|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics|