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Ethical considerations for choosing between possible models for using NIPD for aneuploidy detection
  1. Zuzana Deans,
  2. Ainsley Janelle Newson
  1. Centre for Ethics in Medicine, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zuzana Deans, Centre for Ethics in Medicine, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK; zuzana.deans{at}


Recent scientific advances mean the widespread introduction of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) for chromosomal aneuploidies may be close at hand, raising the question of how NIPD should be introduced as part of antenatal care pathways for pregnant women. In this paper, the authors examine the ethical implications of three hypothetical models for using NIPD for aneuploidy in state-funded healthcare systems and assess which model is ethically preferable. In comparing the models, the authors consider their respective timings; how each model would fit with current screening and diagnostic tests offered to pregnant women; the implications of offering NIPD at different stages of pregnancy; and the potential for each model to support reproductive autonomy and informed decision-making. The authors conclude by favouring a model that would be offered at 11–13 weeks gestation, alongside existing combined screening, provided that this is accompanied by measures to maximise informed decision-making, for example, provision of adequate pretest and post-test counselling.

  • Bioethics
  • prenatal testing
  • pharmacy
  • professionalism
  • philosophy
  • ethics committees/consultation
  • genetic counselling/prenatal diagnosis
  • genetic screening/testing
  • in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer
  • newborns and minors

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  • Funding NIHR. Grant Number RP-PG-0707-10107.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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