How Should Clinicians Counsel a Woman with a Strong Family History of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease about Her Pregnancy?
AMA Journal of Ethics, July 2017
Counseling patients regarding the benefits, harms, and dilemmas of genetic testing is one of the greatest ethical challenges facing reproductive medicine today. With or without test results, clinicians grapple with how to communicate potential genetic risks as patients weigh their reproductive options. Here, we consider a case of a woman with a strong family history of early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD). She is early in her pregnancy and unsure about learning her own genetic status. We address the ethical ramifications of each of her options, which include genetic testing, genetic counseling, and termination versus continuation of the pregnancy. Our analysis foregrounds clinicians' role in helping to ensure autonomous decision making as the patient reflects on these clinical options in light of her goals and values.
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