The report of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO (IBC) on the Human Genome and Human Rights has raise awareness about the dangers of the Non Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) which aim is to detect a range of genetic conditions, microdeletions and duplications in an unborn child by analyzing the blood of the mother.
The IBC has alerted to the “ethical disadvantages” of NIPT :
- a sign of a situation of the exclusion society gives to people affected by this illness,
- a test presented and considered self-evident,
- couples not fully realising that the test results may leave them with a major and possibly extremely difficult decision,
- the risk that pregnant women with a positive result don’t await the validation of the result through invasive diagnostics, but immediately choose to abort the embryo or fetus, without of adequate counselling about the relevance of the detected abnormality,
- women who may feel pressured to submit to such screening and might be stigmatized if they refuse to take the test.
The report highlights : “[It means] indirectly that certain lives are worth living, and others less”.
Following the Netherlands and Great Britain, several countries are thinking about integrating NIPT in their public health care systems.