Ethical Concerns

Important medical decisions often also carry with them moral or ethical dimensions. Your relationship with your baby is different from the relationship your doctors, other healthcare providers, friends, and family members have with your baby. Following the news of a prenatal diagnosis, you may struggle to think clearly and you may feel pressured to make a decision that is inconsistent with your core values. 

All medical ethics emphasize the importance of informed consent. This means you have the right to fully understand all the implications of medical decisions you are being asked to make and how they may affect your baby, you, and your family. If you are feeling rushed to make a decision or pressured to make a particular decision, you have the ethical right to ask for more time and more information. 

You may find it helpful to speak with a professional ethicist who can help you clarify your own ethical beliefs and how ethics apply in your baby’s situation with regards to care and treatment. The National Catholic Bioethics Center, for example, offers free ethics consultations at You need not be Catholic to receive a free consultation. 

If you would prefer to read further on bioethics surrounding a prenatal diagnosis, you may find the following information helpful:

Catholic Ethics in life-limiting prenatal diagnoses -

Early Induction of Labor, National Catholic Bioethics Center, July 20, 2015 -  

Ethical Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009. PART FOUR, Issues in Care for the Beginning of Life, Directives 45-50 - 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Ethics and the Beginning of Human Life, November 26, 2012 by Dr. Megan Best - 

Guidelines on Resolving Conflicts About Treatment Deemed “Futile”, Catholic Medical Association - 

Managing an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis: Critical Considerations for Counselors, Clinicians, and Friends, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, March 4, 2021 - 

Natural Law perspective following a prenatal diagnosis

Nutrition and Hydration, National Catholic Bioethics Center, February 15, 2013 - 

Prenatal Diagnosis: An Overview of Testing Methods, Their Accuracy, Availability, and Use, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, Prentice, 2021 - 

Prenatal Genetic Testing, The Gospel Coalition -

Q&A on Genetic Testing of Preborn Children, Christian Life Resources, 2018 -