Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: antenatal screening

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 26 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1226
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Antenatal screening for fatal conditions such as Edwards syndrome involves the termination of pregnancy. But termination is also considered for non-fatal anomalies that risk a child being born with “serious handicap.”1 The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists offers no “ethical guidance” on these decisions and suggests that staff must adopt a “non-directive” approach when advising couples.1 Yet for screening to be justified, the natural course of the condition must be understood and there should be an agreed policy of whom to treat.2 Do these criteria apply to antenatal anomaly …

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