Perinatología y Reproducción Humana

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>Journals >Perinatología y Reproducción Humana >Year 2014, Issue 2

Flores MMA
Fetal interventions, pain and its bioethical dilemmas
Perinatol Reprod Hum 2014; 28 (2)

Language: Español
References: 21
Page: 114-118
PDF: 250.78 Kb.

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Advances in medical science and technology have allowed fetal surgical interventions. Anatomical, physiological and behavioral studies suggest that the fetus can feel pain. There are different tendencies in the scientific international community: those who deny that the fetus can feel pain, those who consider that from week 29 or 30 the fetus can feel pain and those who conclude that the fetus has the capacity of feeling pain from 20 weeks post-conception. Currently, two types of fetal surgery are described in addition to the ex-utero intrapartum therapy procedure: 1) minimally invasive interventions and 2) open surgery. There are anesthesia and analgesia methods. Two questions are made: Is it ethical to be indifferent to fetal pain? Is it ethical not to treat and prevent pain in the fetus? These questions are addressed from the principlism and utilitarian perspectives. In conclusion: the fetus is a sensitive being from early stages and probably capable of feeling pain from 20 weeks. From Bentham and Mill utilitarianism, the fetus’ capacity to suffer pain is a vital attribute that gives it the right to equal consideration; is a living being that rejects pain, which is shown by behavioral and physiological changes in the presence of invasive procedures. According to Peter Singer, it is a sentient being, a moral being whose mental capacity is less than ours, so it is immoral to let the fetus suffer if we do not give analgesia and anesthesia when it is going into a surgical intervention.

Key words: Fetal pain, fetal analgesia, fetal surgery, utilitarian ethics, bioethics.


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>Journals >Perinatología y Reproducción Humana >Year 2014, Issue 2

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