Table 2

Costs and benefits of antenatal diagnosis typically noted by the medical profession



For hospital and health authorities

1) Costs in connection with diagnosis,

1) Scarce resources allocated to

2) Costs involved in performing termination.

children with good prognosis (rather

3) Costs in connection with counseling services.

than to severely handicapped


For pregnant women and fathers-to-be

Availability of prenatal diagnosis

1) Increase in the number of healthy

children born to parents at risk who,

had prenatal diagnosis not been

available, would have avoided

becoming pregnant.

Diagnostic procedures

1) Risk of fetal loss or injury,

2) Maternal hazards,

3) Maternal anxiety.


true negative

2) Reassurance,

3) An increase in the number of

healthy children born to parents at

risk who, had the test result not been

negative, would have terminated

pregnancy on grounds of risk.

false negative

4) False reassurance.

false positive

5) Abortion of healthy fetus,

6) Grief and adverse psychological

consequences of termination of non-affected


true positive

-followed by abortion-

7) Grief and adverse psychological

4) Averted parental distress and

consequences of termination of affected

burden of care for disabled child,


5) Additional non-disabled children.

-not followed by abortion-

6) Time to prepare for the birth of the

disabled child.

Aksoy BMC Medical Ethics 2001 2:3   doi:10.1186/1472-6939-2-3

Open Data