A principled approach to bioethical regulation of genetic counseling: mapping the bioethical problems of genetic counseling and models for their solution

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Genetic counseling is a field of high-tech medicine, and its development gives rise to many ethical and legal problems associated primarily with the specifics of genetic data. The purpose of this article is to map the problems of bioethical regulation in genetic counseling, as well as approaches to their solution. To structure the problem field, a principlist approach was chosen. Main results: It is shown that bioethical problems of genetic counseling arise not only in connection with adherence to separate bioethical principles, but also in connection with the conflict between the principles of autonomy and beneficence. It is proposed to distinguish two dimensions of this conflict: 1. Individual, associated primarily with the exercise by a person of the right not to know about his/her hereditary risks; 2. Family, associated with the contradiction between the observance of medical secrecy (as part of autonomy) and the potential benefit from informing the patient's relatives about their possible hereditary risks. Conclusions: The models for resolving bioethical collisions highlight new aspects of meaning of autonomy. In the context of genetic counseling, it is possible to understand autonomy not as non-interference, but as an opportunity to control the disposal of genetic data. At the same time, in the context of regulating this disposal, the autonomy of the patient's family members can also be taken into account.

About the authors

Sergey Yu. Shevchenko

Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL)

Author for correspondence.
Email: simurg87@list.ru
109240, 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow, 109240, Russian Federation; 9 Sadovaya - Kudrinskaya str., Moscow, 123995, Russian Federation

Candidate in Philosophy, Researcher, Sector for Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences; Senior Research Fellow, Center for Law and Bioethics in Genomic Research and Application of Genetic Technologies, Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL)

Ekaterina M. Shkomova

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Email: eshkomova@yandex.ru
GSP-1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

Candidate in Philosophy, Researcher, Sector for Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences; Assistant, Department of Ethics, Lomonosov Moscow State University


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