Parental views on informed consent for expanded newborn screening

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Background: An increasing array of rare inherited conditions can be detected as part of the universal newborn screening programme. The introduction and evaluation of these service developments require consideration of the ethical issues involved and appropriate mechanisms for informing parents and gaining consent if required. Exploration of parental views is needed to inform the debate and specifically consider whether more flexible protocols are needed to fit with the public perception of new developments in this context. Objective: This study has been undertaken to explore perceptions and attitudes of parents and future parents to an expanded newborn screening programme in the United Kingdom and the necessary information provision and consent processes. Design and participants: A mixed methods study involving focus groups (n = 29) and a web-survey (n = 142) undertaken with parents and future parents. Results and conclusions: Parents want guaranteed information provision with clear decision-making powers and an awareness of the choices available to them. The difference between existing screening provision and expanded screening was not considered to be significant enough by participants to warrant formal written, informed consent for expanded screening. It is argued that the ethical review processes need to be more flexible towards the provision of information and consent processes for service developments in newborn screening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239–250
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Kubra Choudhry has subsequently changed her name to Kubra Anwar.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Moody, L. and Choudhry, K. (2013)
Parental views on informed consent for expanded newborn screening. Health Expectations,
volume 16 (3): 239–250 , which has been published in final form at . 10.1111/j.1369-
7625.2011.00710.x . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance
With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.


  • expanded newborn screening
  • heel-prick test
  • informed consent


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