Preconference Course on Challenges in Prenatal Counseling
Ethics is inherent to prenatal counseling and decision-making. There are well-versed debates over issues such as the moral status of the fetus, or maternal-fetal conflict. There are also increasingly sophisticated debates over concepts such as the meaning of disability, and notions of autonomy and choice in reproduction.
Norms such as non-directiveness underpin many professional actions in this field. However, some professionals may worry how they might raise an ethical issue without being directive. Others may feel they lack knowledge of ethics: is it all just subjective, with no right answers?
As leaders of the Ethics and Genetic Counseling SIGs, we have been hearing that our members are keen to learn more about how to identify and critically reason around ethical issues. As a result, we have joined forces for an interdisciplinary preconference course for this year’s ISPD Conference that will address cutting-edge ethical and counseling challenges in prenatal testing.
The course will help participants from a variety of professional backgrounds to develop practical reasoning skills regarding the challenges that arise in prenatal testing. It has been designed around three topics:
Dealing with uncertainty
- Communicating about health, disability, and impairment
- Discussing what we mean by "serious"
The course’s learning objectives are geared towards helping participants to recognize when an ethical issue is arising, defining core ethical aspects, and applying ethical concepts. The three topics above will be discussed using a case, from both an ethics and counseling perspective. There will be ample time for audience participation.
We have put together a fantastic group of speakers, including Dr. Megan Allyse (Mayo Clinic, USA), Dr. Samantha Leonard (Natera), Professor Jackie Leach Scully (University of Newcastle, UK), Charlotta Ingvoldstad, CG (Center for Fetal Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden), and Judith Jackson, MS (South Shore Hospital, MA, USA).
As the course is based around cases, we asked for the help of the ISPD professional community. Thank you to all who submitted descriptions of cases to enhance the content of this course! We look forward to presenting the course and to seeing you all in San Diego!