The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 11, Issue 2, Summer 2011

Stefan Pokall, MD
Pages 329-344

Ethical Challenges in Preventive Fetal Therapy

This article reports the case of prenatally diagnosed twins who were conjoined at the umbilical cord and treated before birth. Fetoscopic cord abla­tion of the twin with a severe anomaly was chosen by the parents to reduce the risk of death for the co-twin, although the procedure meant the certain death of the disabled twin. The author discusses different ethical perspectives on the case and on preventive fetal therapy in general. He concludes that care should be taken to help parents find and articulate their ethical position in complicated clinical settings in which life-or-death decisions must be made. Catholic physicians in particular have a duty to participate in such cases and to develop alternatives to a utilitarian medicine. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 11.2 (Summer 2011): 329–344.