Skip to content

Dangers of Prenatal Diagnosis

Interview With Neonatologist Carlo Bellieni

SIENA, Italy, DEC. 23, 2004 (Zenit) - Far from offering or requesting prenatal diagnosis as a routine examination, people should use it with great care, warns a neonatologist.

Dr. Carlo Bellieni of the Santa Maria alle Scotte Polyclinic explains in this interview the risks of using -- or abusing -- prenatal diagnosis.

Q: What is prenatal diagnosis?

Bellieni: It is the way of knowing the fetus' health conditions. It can be done in an invasive way -- by extracting fetal material: blood, chorionic villi, amniotic fluid -- or in a non-invasive way.

In the latter case, it can be done by analyzing the maternal blood or carrying out instrumental examinations such as fetal ultrasounds. Chorionic villous sampling is usually done in the first trimester, while amniocentesis is carried out more frequently in the second trimester.

Q: In whose interest is it done?

Bellieni: Good question. Prenatal diagnosis is very useful to be able to determine a good number of fetal pathologies; many of these can be treated, some directly before birth. But prenatal diagnosis may also be used for selective purposes, recently also in the form of pre-implantation testing.

In this latter case it is carried out in in-vitro fertilization, before introducing the "ideal" embryos in the uterus. There are those who suggest that this testing can be done not only to determine major pathologies, but also secondary features, such as sex.

So a distinction must be made between a prenatal diagnosis done in the interest of all the individuals -- embryo-fetus and mother -- and one which, instead, considers only the interests of the one already born.

Q: Amniocentesis is an ever more widespread examination, yes?

Bellieni: In the 35 years since Jacobson and Barten referred to the first 56 cases of amniocentesis, the number of amniocenteses has increased progressively. Recently, endeavors are under way to overcome the need for invasive examinations in pregnancies, because of the risk of abortion that they entail.

Q: Is it an omissible risk?

Bellieni: A recent study by Seeds in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, of 2004, refers to an abortion rate of 0.6%.

Considering that in 2003 in Italy close to 100,000 amniocenteses were carried out, it turns out, according to this data, that more than 500 normal and wanted pregnancies did not end in birth because of this technique, with the consequent trauma for the woman. It is not an omissible fact, despite surgeons being extremely scrupulous and skillful.

Q: You have spoken on other occasions of the fetus' right to privacy. To what are you referring?

Bellieni: I understand that the fetus is an individual who has the right of non-interference in his innermost sphere. In 1998 the World Health Organization also recommended that prenatal diagnosis be carried out exclusively in the interest of the fetus, and not to satisfy the parents' curiosity.

Q: Do ultrasounds hold surprises in store?

Bellieni: We must be clear: Ultrasounds are absolutely safe and not harmful. Moreover, they can contribute useful information in the interest of the mother and the fetus. However, we must not trivialize them, as we must not trivialize anything in medicine.

In 2004 the Food and Drug Administration warned about the excess of videos recorded as "mementos." Many international studies recommend an ultrasound in the course of a pregnancy. In Italy and France the number is even higher than the three that are usually recommended.

Q: What would you say by way of conclusion?

Bellieni: That prenatal diagnosis is too often carried out in the ambit of already widespread anxiety over pregnancy, which stems for the concept of the "search for the perfect child," since the idea that the pregnancy might end in a way other than perfection is "simply not granted to women."

Invasive prenatal diagnosis is an instrument that must be used with care -- in the first place, knowing its risks and real indications, and not offering or requiring it as a routine examination; in the second place, knowing lamentably that it cannot give the yearned for certainty of the absence of fetal pathology, the pathologies that a pregnancy might entail being so many and of such a varied nature.

Pregnancy must be released from the grip of anxiety, and prenatal diagnosis must be given back its role as coadjutor of a mental and emotional process, and not as an obligation for social ends.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Abortion, Prenatal, Neonatologist, Birth, Baby

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.