Intended for healthcare professionals


Fetuses can feel pain

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 27 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1036
  1. Mark Tighe, paediatric specialist registrar (
  1. Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD

    EDITOR—Derbyshire argues against the ability of fetuses to feel pain.1 He states: “Good evidence exists that the biological system necessary for pain is intact and functional from 26 weeks.” He then adopts a definition of pain from the International Association for the Study of Pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual …

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