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Rigter T.,VU University Amsterdam | van Aart C.J.A.,VU University Amsterdam | Elting M.W.,VU University Amsterdam | Waisfisz Q.,VU University Amsterdam | And 4 more authors.
Clinical Genetics | Year: 2014

Next-generation sequencing is increasingly being chosen as a diagnostic tool for cases of expected genetic, but unresolved origin. The consequential increased need for decisions on disclosure of unsolicited findings poses a challenge for the informed consent procedure. This study explored the first experiences with, and needs for, the informed consent procedure in diagnostic exome sequencing, with the stakeholders involved. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 professional experts and one professional gave a written response. Furthermore, the counseling process was observed in three cases where exome sequencing was offered, followed by interviews with the patient (representative) and the genetic counselor. The respondents not only preferred an opt-out for unsolicited findings but also identified many challenges and therefore more experiences with exome sequencing was considered needed. Context-dependent decision-making was observed and an Advisory Board for unsolicited findings was considered helpful while doubts were raised about the feasibility and the possibility of undermining patients' autonomy. Finally, respondents brought up the complexity of information provision, and division of responsibilities between clinicians and the lab. These challenges and needs, raised by stakeholders involved, provide more insight in the next steps needed for an optimal informed consent procedure for exome sequencing in diagnostics. © 2013 The Authors. Clinical Genetics published by JohnWiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Hens K.,Maastricht University | Hens K.,Center for Society and the Life science
Health Care Analysis | Year: 2013

The screening of in vitro embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment for chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidies) has as a primary aim to help patients achieve a successful pregnancy. Most IVF centers will not transfer aneuploid embryos, as they have an enhanced risk of leading to implantation failure and miscarriage. However, some aneuploidies, such as trisomy-21, can lead to viable pregnancies and to children with a variable health prognosis, and some prospective parents may request transfer of such embryos. I present two cases where the testing for and detection of trisomy-21 can lead to conflicts between IVF professionals and patients and argue that in most such cases respect for choices of patients should prevail. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Timmermann C.,Wageningen University | Timmermann C.,Center for Society and the Life science
Science and Engineering Ethics | Year: 2014

The intellectual property regimes we have currently in place are heavily under attack. One of the points of criticism is the interaction between two elements of article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the widely discussed issue of being able to benefit from scientific progress and the less argued for position of having a right to take part in scientific enterprises. To shine light on the question if we should balance the two elements or prioritize one of them, an exploration will be offered on how benefiting from scientific progress and the ability to participate in the advancement of science relate to securing human capabilities. A different perspective to the question will be gained by identifying the problem as an issue of misrecognition, especially the failure to recognize many willing collaboration partners in scientific research as peers. Lastly, I will argue that cooperative justice requires that if we have an innovation incentive system that disproportionally benefits one particular group, a certain duty to counterbalance this advantage exists when we are relying on mutual cooperation for the recognition of intellectual property rights. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Vermeulen E.,VU University Amsterdam | Vermeulen E.,Netherlands Cancer Institute | Henneman L.,VU University Amsterdam | Van El C.G.,VU University Amsterdam | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Public Health | Year: 2013

Background: Genetic testing and family history assessment can be used as an aid in the prevention of common chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to determine public attitudes and interests towards offering genetic testing and family history-based risk assessment for common chronic disease prevention. Methods: Cross-sectional questionnaire survey of a consumer panel representative for the Dutch population. The questionnaire was sent to 1399 panel members, aged â18 years. Results: The response was 70% (978/1399). About half of the respondents expressed an interest in genetic testing to prevent specific diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or dementia), with lower-educated respondents showing more interest than higher-educated respondents. Few respondents (24%) agreed that people should be preventively tested for all kinds of diseases. According to the respondents, genetic testing should be performed in the hospital (66%) and be directed to curable (57%) or preventable diseases (69%). Half of the respondents believed that family history assessment could help prevent disease, but only 21% thought it should be offered to everyone, as this could cause people to be worried. A minority (12%) reported that their family history had been assessed, whereas 59% did not have it assessed and did not think this would be necessary. Respondents have differentiated interests in preventive genomics, which varies depending on sex, age and level of education. Conclusions: Members of the public are interested in genetic testing for preventable and curable diseases, but they are ambivalent about family history risk assessment to prevent disease. © 2013 © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved. Source

Hens K.,Maastricht University | Hens K.,Center for Society and the Life science | Dondorp W.,Maastricht University | Handyside A.H.,Gynaecology and Genetics Center | And 8 more authors.
Human Reproduction Update | Year: 2013

Background: Genetic testing of preimplantation embryos has been used for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Microarray technology is being introduced in both these contexts, and whole genome sequencing of blastomeres is also expeted to become possible soon. The amount of extra information such tests will yield may prove to be beneficial for embryo selection, will also raise various ethical issues. We present an overview of the developments and an agenda-setting exploration of the ethical issues. Methods: The paper is a joint endeavour by the presenters at an explorative 'campus meeting' organized by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in cooperation with the department of Health, Ethics & Society of the Maastricht University (The Netherlands). Results: The increasing amount and detail of information that new screening techniques such as microarrays and whole genome sequencing offer does not automatically coincide with an increasing understanding of the prospects of an embryo. From a technical point of view, the future of comprehensive embryo testing may go together with developments in preconception carrier screening. From an ethical point of view, the increasing complexity and amount of information yielded by comprehensive testing techniques will lead to challenges to the principle of reproductive autonomy and the right of the child to an open future, and may imply a possible larger responsibility of the clinician towards the welfare of the future child. Combinations of preconception carrier testing and embryo testing may solve some of these ethical questions but could introduce others. Conclusions: As comprehensive testing techniques are entering the IVF clinic, there is a need for a thorough rethinking of traditional ethical paradigms regarding medically assisted reproduction. The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. Source

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