Discovering misattributed paternity in genetic counselling: different ethical perspectives in two countries

J Med Ethics medethics-2012-101062 Published Online 26 February 2013

Authors: Pamela Tozzo, Luciana Caenazzo, Michael J Parker

“The development of genetic and, recently, of genomic medicine may increase the need for healthcare professionals to know whether or not genetic information, especially ‘incidental findings’, can or should be disclosed, and to whom.1–3 The incidental discovery of a ‘misattributed’ paternity (or ‘false’ paternity) through routine genetic counselling practice gives rise to a complex problem with potentially serious ethical, legal and practical consequences for patients and for healthcare professionals (HCPs).4–7

In this paper, we highlight the complex implications of this subject for HCPs, where testing discloses unexpected information not requested by patients—for example, misattributed paternity. The true incidence of unexpected findings is not known, but some sources cite values between 1% and 30%.1 ,8–10

We will examine the two different normative contexts to understand better how clinical practice is dealing with this topic and to determine whether the Oviedo Convention can be useful in the bioethical debate…”

Find article here.