Legal Considerations in Genetic Screening and Testing: Three Case Studies: ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 805

Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Apr;135(4):e189-e192. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003774.


The rapidly evolving genetic technologies that are available to patients and obstetrician-gynecologists have transformed the practice of clinical medicine. From cell-free DNA screening technologies in pregnancy to expanded carrier screening and hereditary cancer gene panels, obstetrician-gynecologists often are faced with questions about their legal responsibilities regarding genetic information as well as the legal ramifications of this information for their patients.The Committee on Genetics has constructed the following case studies to highlight some of the legal issues an obstetrician-gynecologist may encounter when performing genetic testing. These cases do not cover the breadth of legal issues affecting clinical genetics, but rather they illustrate certain legal concepts and principles as well as key pieces of legislation that are pertinent to clinical care. These case descriptions are not intended to serve as legal advice. Obstetrician-gynecologists are strongly encouraged to seek expert legal assistance to resolve questions involving legal rights or responsibilities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Genetic Testing / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Prenatal Care / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States