Ethical challenges in the new world of maternal-fetal surgery

Semin Perinatol. 2016 Jun;40(4):227-33. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2015.12.012. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


This article explores some of the complex ethical challenges that exist in the field of fetal diagnosis and treatment, especially surrounding maternal-fetal surgery. The rise of these new treatments force us to reconsider who or what is the fetus, what are our obligations to the fetus, and what are the limits to those obligations. In addition, we will consider provider and professional biases, disability issues, and how maternal-fetal surgery has, for a select group of women, changed the very experience of motherhood.

Keywords: Ethics; Fetal diagnosis; Fetal treatment; Maternal–fetal surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beginning of Human Life / ethics*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / psychology
  • Fetal Diseases / surgery*
  • Fetal Viability / physiology
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics*
  • Informed Consent / psychology
  • Maternal-Fetal Relations / psychology*
  • Moral Obligations
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Personhood
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women* / psychology
  • Risk Assessment