Fatally flawed? A review and ethical analysis of lethal congenital malformations

Antenatal diagnosis of a severe congenital malformation is associated with profound grief, sadness and anger. In many parts of the world diagnoses of this nature are often followed by decisions to terminate a pregnancy, particularly where the condition is associated with a high rate of prenatal (or stillbirth) or neonatal death. Those conditions with the poorest prognosis are often labelled ‘lethal’. This term is sometimes used in perinatal practice to convey the gravity of the fetus’ condition, and may permit different obstetric decision-making …

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