The rapid explosion of prenatal testing has exceeded the slower rate of ethical advances. But recently, an increasing number of parents who have received a poor prenatal diagnosis are turning to medical teams who can help them make an empowered choice: parenting their child for as long as his or her condition permits.
Selective termination of the child in utero exposes parents to a higher risk of trauma, since it leaves them to deal with their child’s diagnosis and his termination, which was brought about by their own decision. A growing number of families are choosing the alternative: perinatal hospice.
Perinatal hospice is an evidenced-based, multi-disciplinary approach to care for families through the bereavement process over their sick child, ultimately improving the family’s care and long-term health. Mothers and fathers want to parent and care for their child or children; perinatal hospice allows them to do this.
- Hoeldtke NJ, Calhoun, BC. “Perinatal Hospice.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2001; 185: 525-529.
- Calhoun, Byron et al. “Perinatal Hospice: Comprehensive Care for the Family of a Fetus with a Lethal Condition.” Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2003; 48 (5): 343-8.
- Calhoun, Byron et al. “Perinatal Hospice: Family-centered Care for the Fetus with a Lethal Condition.”Journal of Physicians and Surgeons 2006; 11: 52-55.
- Catlin, A., & Carter, B. “Creation of a Neonatal End-of-life Palliative Care Protocol.” Journal of Perinatology 2002; 22(3), 184-95. Hochberg, T. (April/May/June 2003).