Removing the shadow of the law from the debate about genetic testing of children

Am J Med Genet. 1995 Jul 17;57(4):630-4. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320570423.


When physicians view efforts to obtain genetic testing for children as unwise or contrary to the children's interests, they face difficult problems both of ethics and of communicating with the parents. Contrary to the suggestions of some, the law has little to say about how physicians resolve these dilemmas. Parents do not have a constitutionally protected right to demand that unwilling physicians perform these tests. In addition, there is little risk of liability for damages unless the child suffers physical harm as a result of the physician's refusal to do the test. The debate about genetic testing of children needs to take place with a clear understanding of the law's limited impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnosis
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Medical*
  • Liability, Legal
  • Minors*
  • Risk Assessment