Genetic dilemmas and the child's right to an open future

Hastings Cent Rep. 1997 Mar-Apr;27(2):7-15.


Although deeply committed to the model of nondirective counseling, most genetic counselors enter the profession with certain assumptions about health and disability-for example, that it is preferable to be a hearing person than a deaf person. Thus, most genetic counselors are deeply troubled when parents with certain disabilities ask for assistance in having a child who shares their disability. This ethical challenge benefits little from viewing it as a conflict between beneficence and autonomy. The challenge is better recast as a conflict between parental autonomy and the child's future autonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Beneficence
  • Child
  • Child Advocacy*
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / prevention & control
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / psychology*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Social Values*