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Overcoming (false) dichotomies to address ethical issues of artificial placentas
  1. Alice Cavolo1,2
  1. 1 Universität Zürich Institut für Biomedizinische Ethik und Medizingeschichte, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. 2 Centre for biomedical ethics and law, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Alice Cavolo, Universität Zürich Institut für Biomedizinische Ethik und Medizingeschichte, Zurich, ZH, Switzerland; alice.cavolo{at}

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Romanis and Adkins discuss pregnancy loss in relation to artificial amnion and placenta technology (AAPT) for treatment of extremely preterm infants.1 I agree with the authors that AAPT, although it is expected to provide better care for extremely preterm infants, will also be challenging for parents. I, therefore, commend Romanis and Adkins for promoting a more holistic care that includes parents and pregnant persons. However, I believe that they create two false dichotomies, one between the pregnant person/parent and the fetus/child and one between current neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and AAPT that hinder holistic care.

The maternal–fetal dichotomy

Romanis and Adkins correctly point out that much of the discourse and care surrounding preterm deliveries focuses mainly on the infant. I agree with Romanis and Adkins that true holistic care should also include the parents rather than focusing exclusively on the child. However, the language they use to petition for more inclusive care can be problematic and counteractive to achieve holistic care.

The problem is that they accuse any fetal/child consideration of being fetal-centric and, in the same breath, they state that it is something to be challenged. This attitude is problematic as it feeds into the rhetoric of the maternal–fetal conflict. This is a common rhetoric in reproductive and neonatal care used mainly in situations …

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  • X @alice_cavolo

  • Contributors AC conducted there research and prepared the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by Stehr-Boldt Fellowship Award in Biomedical Ethics (No grant number).

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

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