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Committee Opinion Number 410, June 2008

(Reaffirmed 2014)

ABSTRACT: Genetic testing is poised to play an increasing role in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. To assure patients of the highest quality of care, physicians should become familiar with the currently available array of genetic tests and the tests' limitations. Clinicians should be able to identify patients within their practices who are candidates for genetic testing. Candidates will include patients who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and are at risk for giving birth to affected children as well as gynecology patients who, for example, may have or be predisposed to certain...


Committee Opinion Number 578, November 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016. Replaces No. 395, January 2008)

ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; ...


Committee Opinion Number 564, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Because of the growing importance of infectious disease prevention in the individual patient and the larger community, it is vital that Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists be prepared to navigate the practical and ethical challenges that come with vaccination. Health care professionals have an ethical obligation to keep their patients’ best interests in mind by following evidence-based guidelines to encourage patients to be vaccinated and to be vaccinated themselves. College Fellows should counsel their patients about vaccination in an evidence-based m...


Committee Opinion Number 563, May 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women traditionally have been assigned priority in the allocation of prevention and treatment resources during outbreaks of influenza because of their increased risk of morbidity and mortality. The Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explores ethical justifications for assigning priority for prevention and treatment resources to pregnant women during an influenza pandemic, makes recommendations to incorporate ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning concerning pregnant women, and calls for pandemic preparedness efforts to incl...


5.
December 2007

Committee Opinion Number 389, December 2007

(Reaffirmed 2015)

ABSTRACT: Because human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection often is detected through prenatal and sexually transmitted disease testing, an obstetrician–gynecologist may be the first health professional to provide care for a woman infected with HIV. Universal testing with patient notification and right of refusal ("opt-out" testing) is recommended by most national organizations and federal agencies. Although opt-out and "opt-in" testing (but not mandatory testing) are both ethically acceptable, the former approach may identify more women who are eligible for therapy and may have public hea...


Committee Opinion Number 664, June 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 321, November 2005)

ABSTRACT: One of the most challenging scenarios in obstetric care occurs when a pregnant patient refuses recommended medical treatment that aims to support her well-being, her fetus’s well-being, or both. In such circumstances, the obstetrician–gynecologist’s ethical obligation to safeguard the pregnant woman’s autonomy may conflict with the ethical desire to optimize the health of the fetus. Forced compliance—the alternative to respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment—raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power diffe...


Committee Opinion Number 660, March 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 397, February 2008)

ABSTRACT: Gestational surrogacy is an increasingly common form of family building that can allow individuals or a couple to become parents despite circumstances in which carrying a pregnancy is biologically impossible or medically contraindicated. The practice of gestational surrogacy involves a woman known as a gestational carrier who agrees to bear a genetically unrelated child with the help of assisted reproductive technologies for an individual or couple who intend(s) to be the legal and rearing parent(s), referred to as the intended parent(s). Obstetrician–gynecologists may become involv...


Committee Opinion Number 501, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: The past two decades have yielded profound advances in the fields of prenatal diagnosis and fetal intervention. Although fetal interventions are driven by a beneficence-based motivation to improve fetal and neonatal outcomes, advancement in fetal therapies raises ethical issues surrounding maternal autonomy and decision making, concepts of innovation versus research, and organizational aspects within institutions in the development of fetal care centers. To safeguard the interests of both the pregnant woman and the fetus, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and t...


9.
September 2017

Committee Opinion Number 719, September 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 553, February 2013)

ABSTRACT: Although not all multifetal pregnancies occur after the use of assisted reproductive technology, fertility treatments have contributed significantly to the increase in multifetal pregnancies. In almost all cases, it is preferable to avoid the risk of higher-order multifetal pregnancy by limiting the number of embryos to be transferred or by cancelling a gonadotropin cycle when the ovarian response suggests a high risk of a multifetal pregnancy. When multifetal pregnancies do occur, incorporating the ethical framework presented in this Committee Opinion will help obstetrician–gynecol...


Committee Opinion Number 457, June 2010

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Emergency plans that specifically address the needs of women, infants, and children during disasters are currently underdeveloped in the United States. Pregnant women, infants, and children are adversely affected by disasters resulting in an increased number of infants with intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, and a small head circumference. There is an increased incidence of preterm delivery. To provide for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, pregnant women affected by disasters need to be assured of a continuation of prenatal care. Those in the third trimester should b...


Committee Opinion Number 570, August 2013

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Maternal and infant benefits from breastfeeding are well documented and are especially important to underserved women. Underserved women are disproportionately likely to experience adverse health outcomes that may improve with breastfeeding. They face unique barriers and have low rates of initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Through a multidisciplinary approach that involves practitioners, family members, and child care providers, obstetrician–gynecologists can help underserved women overcome obstacles and obtain the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves and their infant...


Committee Opinion Number 496, August 2011

(Reaffirmed 2013)

ABSTRACT: Compared with men, at-risk alcohol use by women has a disproportionate effect on their health and lives, including reproductive function and pregnancy outcomes. Obstetrician–gynecologists have a key role in screening and providing brief intervention, patient education, and treatment referral for their patients who drink alcohol at risk levels. For women who are not physically addicted to alcohol, tools such as brief intervention and motivational interviewing can be used effectively by the clinician and incorporated into an office visit. For pregnant women and those at risk of pregna...


Committee Opinion Number 552, January 2013

(Reaffirmed 2016)

ABSTRACT: Many U.S. women are uninsured and face avoidable adverse obstetric and gynecologic health outcomes. The Affordable Care Act requires an expansion of Medicaid that would increase the percentage of U.S. women with health insurance, with the anticipated benefit of improved health. The 2012 Supreme Court decision allows states to opt out of Medicaid expansion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports appropriate reimbursement to health care providers and the expansion of Medicaid as key strategies to improve women’s health.


Committee Opinion Number 681, December 2016

(Replaces Committee Opinion No. 520, March 2012)

ABSTRACT: Adverse outcomes, preventable or otherwise, are a reality of medical care. Most importantly, adverse events affect patients, but they also affect health care practitioners. Disclosing information about adverse events has benefits for the patient and the physician and, ideally, strengthens the patient–physician relationship and promotes trust. Studies show that after an adverse outcome, patients expect and want timely and full disclosure of the event, an acknowledgment of responsibility, an understanding of what happened, expressions of sympathy, and a discussion of what is being don...


Committee Opinion Number 636, June 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 449, December 2009) Reaffirmed 2017

ABSTRACT: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive disorder of phenylalanine (Phe) metabolism characterized by deficient activity of the hepatic enzyme, phenylalanine hydroxylase. Increased blood Phe levels are toxic to a variety of tissues, particularly the developing fetal brain. The mainstay of treatment for PKU is the dietary restriction of Phe, which results in decreased blood Phe levels. Lifelong dietary restriction and therapy improves quality of life in patients with PKU and should be encouraged. Genetic counseling is recommended for all reproductive-aged women with PKU, and sh...


Committee Opinion Number 478, March 2011

(Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Family history plays a critical role in assessing the risk of inherited medical conditions and single gene disorders. Several methods have been established to obtain family medical histories, including the family history questionnaire or checklist and the pedigree. The screening tool selected should be tailored to the practice setting and patient population. It is recommended that all women receive a family history evaluation as a screening tool for inherited risk. Family history information should be reviewed and updated regularly, especially when there are significant changes to f...


17.
December 2015

Committee Opinion Number 648, December 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 399, February 2008) (Reaffirmed 2018)

ABSTRACT: Once considered a waste product that was discarded with the placenta, umbilical cord blood is now known to contain potentially life-saving hematopoietic stem cells. When used in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, umbilical cord blood offers several distinct advantages over bone marrow or peripheral stem cells. However, umbilical cord blood collection is not part of routine obstetric care and is not medically indicated. Umbilical cord blood collection should not compromise obstetric or neonatal care or alter routine practice for the timing of umbilical cord clamping. If a patie...


Committee Opinion Number 724, November 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 409, June 2008;
Committee Opinion Number 488, May 2011;
and Committee Opinion Number 527, June 2012)

ABSTRACT: With the increased emphasis on patient-driven health care and readily available access to patients through the internet and media, many genetic testing companies have begun to market directly to consumers. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing raises unique concerns and considerations, including limited knowledge among patients and health care providers of available genetic tests, difficulty in interpretation of genetic test results, lack of oversight of companies that offer genetic testing, and issues of privacy and confidentiality. When undergoing any direct-to-consumer genetic testi...


Committee Opinion Number 691, March 2017

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 318, October 2005;
Committee Opinion Number 432, May 2009;
Committee Opinion Number 442, October 2009;
Committee Opinion Number 469, October 2010;
Committee Opinion Number 486, April 2011)

ABSTRACT: Carrier screening is a term used to describe genetic testing that is performed on an individual who does not have any overt phenotype for a genetic disorder but may have one variant allele within a gene(s) associated with a diagnosis. Information about carrier screening should be provided to every pregnant woman. Carrier screening and counseling ideally should be performed before pregnancy because this enables couples to learn about their reproductive risk and consider the most complete range of reproductive options. A patient may decline any or all screening. When an individual is ...


Committee Opinion Number 627, March 2015

(Replaces Committee Opinion Number 425, January 2009, Reaffirmed 2017)

ABSTRACT: Unauthorized (undocumented) immigrants are less likely than other residents of the United States to have health insurance. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long supported a basic health care package for all women living within the United States without regard to their country of origin or documentation. Providing access to quality health care for unauthorized immigrants and their children, who often were born in the United States and have U.S. citizenship, is essential to improving the nation’s public health.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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