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Ethical considerations of the perinatal necropsy.
  1. T Y Khong
  1. Department of Pathology, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide, Australia.


    The perinatal necropsy is an important investigation following fetal or neonatal loss. Legal requirements on registration decree that consent is needed before necropsy can proceed in some of these babies. However, there are ill-defined grey areas which are open to legal and ethical difficulties. This paper discusses the problems that can arise with consent for a necropsy in the perinatal period. Some of these problems are clearly legal or ethical but all can cause distress to parents at a time of grief and bereavement. The issues may not be readily resolved but public debate and ad hominem decisions on each perinatal loss may help to alleviate the problems.

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