"I Would Do It All Over Again": Cherishing Time and the Absence of Regret in Continuing a Pregnancy after a Life-Limiting Diagnosis

J Clin Ethics. 2018 Fall;29(3):227-236.


Parents, after learning of a life-limiting fetal condition (LLFC), experience emotional distress and must consider options that impact the remainder of the pregnancy, their future lives, and family members. For those who continue, little is known about their long-term presence or absence of regret about their choice, the reasons for this feeling, or its impact on their life. The aim of this research was to examine the concept of decision regret in parents who opted to continue a pregnancy affected by an LLFC. The contextual factors, conditions, and consequences surrounding the presence or absence of regret were analyzed. Data were retrieved from a cross-sectional study using the Quality of Perinatal Palliative Care and Parental Satisfaction Instrument. Participants were parents (N = 405) who experienced a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis and opted to continue their pregnancy. Secondary data analysis examined qualitative responses (121/402) to an item addressing regret. Dimensional analysis was used to examine data, identifying context, conditions, and consequences associated with the presence or absence of regret. Absence of regret was articulated in 97.5 percent of participants. Parents valued the baby as a part of their family and had opportunities to love, hold, meet, and cherish their child. Participants treasured the time together before and after the birth. Although emotionally difficult, parents articulated an empowering, transformative experience that lingers over time.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Fetal Diseases / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis