Risk, medicine and women: a case study on prenatal genetic counselling in Brazil
Guilam, Maria Cristina R.
Corrêa, Marilena C.D.V.
Developing World Bioethics 2007 August; 7(2): 78-85
Genetic counselling is an important aspect of prenatal care in many developed countries. This tendency has also begun to emerge in Brazil, although few medical centres offer this service. Genetic counselling provides prenatal risk control through a process of individual decision-making based on medical information, in a context where diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities overlap. Detection of severe foetal anomalies can lead to a decision involving possible termination of pregnancy. This paper focuses on medical and legal consequences of the detection of severe foetal anomalies, mainly anencephaly and Down syndrome, and in light of the fact that abortion is illegal in Brazil. The discussion is based on the literature and empirical research at a high-complexity public hospital in Rio de Janeiro.
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