First name
Alan
Middle name
W
Last name
Flake

Title

Ethics Considerations Regarding Artificial Womb Technology for the Fetonate.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

1-12

Date Published

2022 Apr 01

ISSN Number

1536-0075

Abstract

<p>Since the early 1980's, with the clinical advent of in&nbsp;vitro fertilization resulting in so-called "test tube babies," a wide array of ethical considerations and concerns regarding artificial womb technology (AWT) have been described. Recent breakthroughs in the development of extracorporeal neonatal life support by means of AWT have reinitiated ethical interest about this topic with a sense of urgency. Most of the recent ethical literature on the topic, however, pertains not to the more imminent scenario of a physiologically improved method of neonatal care through AWT, but instead to the remote scenario of "complete ectogenesis" that imagines human gestation occurring entirely outside of the womb. This scoping review of the ethical literature on AWT spans from more abstract concerns about complete ectogenesis to more immediate concerns about the soon-to-be-expected clinical life support of what we term the fetal neonate or fetonate. Within an organizing framework of different stages of human gestational development, from conception to the viable premature infant, we discuss both already identified and newly emerging ethical considerations and concerns regarding AWT and the care of the fetonate.</p>

DOI

10.1080/15265161.2022.2048738

Alternate Title

Am J Bioeth

PMID

35362359

Title

Pediatric neurosurgeons' views regarding prenatal surgery for myelomeningocele and the management of hydrocephalus: a national survey.

Year of Publication

2019

Number of Pages

E8

Date Published

2019 Oct 01

ISSN Number

1092-0684

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>The Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) compared prenatal with postnatal surgery for myelomeningocele (MMC). The present study sought to determine how MOMS influenced the clinical recommendations of pediatric neurosurgeons, how surgeons' risk tolerance affected their views, how their views compare to those of their colleagues in other specialties, and how their management of hydrocephalus compares to the guidelines used in the MOMS trial.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>A cross-sectional survey was sent to all 154 pediatric neurosurgeons in the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons. The effect of surgeons' risk tolerance on opinions and counseling of prenatal closure was determined by using ordered logistic regression.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Compared to postnatal closure, 71% of responding pediatric neurosurgeons viewed prenatal closure as either "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable," and 51% reported being more likely to recommend prenatal surgery in light of MOMS. Compared to pediatric surgeons, neonatologists, and maternal-fetal medicine specialists, pediatric neurosurgeons viewed prenatal MMC repair less favorably (p &lt; 0.001). Responders who believed the surgical risks were high were less likely to view prenatal surgery favorably and were also less likely to recommend prenatal surgery (p &lt; 0.001). The management of hydrocephalus was variable, with 60% of responders using endoscopic third ventriculostomy in addition to ventriculoperitoneal shunts.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>The majority of pediatric neurosurgeons have a favorable view of prenatal surgery for MMC following MOMS, although less so than in other specialties. The reported acceptability of surgical risks was strongly predictive of prenatal counseling. Variation in the management of hydrocephalus may impact outcomes following prenatal closure.</p>

DOI

10.3171/2019.7.FOCUS19406

Alternate Title

Neurosurg Focus

PMID

31574481

Title

Weighing the Social and Ethical Considerations of Maternal-Fetal Surgery.

Year of Publication

2017

Date Published

2017 Nov 03

ISSN Number

1098-4275

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVES: </strong>The ethics of maternal-fetal surgery involves weighing the importance of potential benefits, risks, and other consequences involving the pregnant woman, fetus, and other family members. We assessed clinicians' ratings of the importance of 9 considerations relevant to maternal-fetal surgery.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>This study was a discrete choice experiment contained within a 2015 national mail-based survey of 1200 neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, and maternal-fetal medicine physicians, with latent class analysis subsequently used to identify groups of physicians with similar ratings.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 1176 eligible participants, 660 (56%) completed the discrete choice experiment. The highest-ranked consideration was of neonatal benefits, which was followed by consideration of the risk of maternal complications. By using latent class analysis, we identified 4 attitudinal groups with similar patterns of prioritization: "fetocentric" (n = 232), risk-sensitive (n = 197), maternal autonomy (n = 167), and family impact and social support (n = 64). Neonatologists were more likely to be in the fetocentric group, whereas surgeons were more likely to be in the risk-sensitive group, and maternal-fetal medicine physicians made up the largest percentage of the family impact and social support group.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Physicians vary in how they weigh the importance of social and ethical considerations regarding maternal-fetal surgery. Understanding these differences may help prevent or mitigate disagreements or tensions that may arise in the management of these patients.</p>

DOI

10.1542/peds.2017-0608

Alternate Title

Pediatrics

PMID

29101225

Title

Attitudes of paediatric and obstetric specialists towards prenatal surgery for lethal and non-lethal conditions.

Year of Publication

2018

Number of Pages

234-8

Date Published

2018 Apr

ISSN Number

1473-4257

Abstract

<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>While prenatal surgery historically was performed exclusively for lethal conditions, today intrauterine surgery is also performed to decrease postnatal disabilities for non-lethal conditions. We sought to describe physicians' attitudes about prenatal surgery for lethal and non-lethal conditions and to elucidate characteristics associated with these attitudes.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>Survey of 1200 paediatric surgeons, neonatologists and maternal-fetal medicine specialists (MFMs).</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 1176 eligible physicians, 670 (57%) responded (range by specialty, 54%-60%). In the setting of a lethal condition for which prenatal surgery would likely result in the child surviving with a severe disability, most respondents either disagreed (59%) or strongly disagreed (19%) that they would recommend the surgery. Male physicians were twice as likely to recommend surgery for the lethal condition, as were physicians who believe that abortion is morally wrong (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.0 to 3.05). Older physicians were less likely to recommend surgery (OR 0.57; 95% CI 0.36 to 0.88). For non-lethal conditions, most respondents agreed (66% somewhat, 4% strongly) that they would recommend prenatal surgery, even if the surgery increases the risk of prematurity or fetal death. Compared with MFMs, surgeons were less likely to recommend such surgery, as were physicians not affiliated with a fetal centre, and physicians who were religious (ORs range from 0.45 to 0.64).</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>Physician's attitudes about prenatal surgery relate to physicians' beliefs about disability as well as demographic, cultural and religious characteristics. Given the variety of views, parents are likely to receive different recommendations from their doctors about the preferable treatment choice.</p>

DOI

10.1136/medethics-2017-104377

Alternate Title

J Med Ethics

PMID

29018178

Title

Physician views regarding the benefits and burdens of prenatal surgery for myelomeningocele.

Year of Publication

2017

Date Published

2017 Jun 15

ISSN Number

1476-5543

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>Examine how pediatric and obstetrical subspecialists view benefits and burdens of prenatal myelomeningocele (MMC) closure.</p>

<p><strong>STUDY DESIGN: </strong>Mail survey of 1200 neonatologists, pediatric surgeons and maternal-fetal medicine specialists (MFMs).</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 1176 eligible physicians, 670 (57%) responded. Most respondents disagreed (68%, 11% strongly) that open fetal surgery places an unacceptable burden on women and their families. Most agreed (65%, 10% strongly) that denying the benefits of open maternal-fetal surgery is unfair to the future child. Most (94%) would recommend prenatal fetoscopic over open or postnatal MMC closure for a hypothetical fetoscopic technique that had similar shunt rates (40%) but decreased maternal morbidity. When the hypothetical shunt rate for fetoscopy was increased to 60%, physicians were split (49% fetoscopy versus 45% open). Views about burdens and fairness correlated with the likelihood of recommending postnatal or fetoscopic over open closure.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>Individual and specialty-specific values may influence recommendations about prenatal surgery.Journal of Perinatology advance online publication, 15 June 2017; doi:10.1038/jp.2017.75.</p>

DOI

10.1038/jp.2017.75

Alternate Title

J Perinatol

PMID

28617430

Title

Specialty-Based Variation in Applying Maternal-Fetal Surgery Trial Evidence.

Year of Publication

2017

Number of Pages

210-217

Date Published

2017

ISSN Number

1421-9964

Abstract

<p><strong>INTRODUCTION: </strong>The Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) compared prenatal with postnatal surgery for fetal myelomeningocele (MMC). We sought to understand how subspecialists interpreted the trial results and whether their practice has changed.</p>

<p><strong>MATERIALS AND METHODS: </strong>Cross-sectional, mailed survey of 1,200 randomly selected maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) physicians, neonatologists, and pediatric surgeons.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 1,176 eligible physicians, 670 (57%) responded. Compared to postnatal closure, 33% viewed prenatal closure as "very favorable" and 60% as "somewhat favorable." Most physicians reported being more likely to recommend prenatal surgery (69%), while 28% were less likely to recommend pregnancy termination. In multivariable analysis, neonatologists were more likely to report prenatal closure as "very favorable" (OR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.03-2.5). Pediatric surgeons and neonatologists were more likely to recommend prenatal closure (OR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3-3.3, and OR 2.9; 95% CI: 1.8-4.6) and less likely to recommend termination (OR 3.8; 95% CI: 2.2-6.7, and OR 4.7; 95% CI: 2.7-8.1). In addition, physicians with a higher tolerance for prematurity were more likely to report prenatal closure as "very favorable" (OR 1.02; 95% CI: 1.00-1.05).</p>

<p><strong>DISCUSSION: </strong>In light of the MOMS trial, the vast majority of pediatric subspecialists and MFMs view prenatal MMC closure favorably. These attitudes vary by specialty and risk tolerance.</p>

DOI

10.1159/000455024

Alternate Title

Fetal. Diagn. Ther.

PMID

28301843

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