Home Birth of Infants with Congenital Anomalies: A Case Study and Ethical Analysis of Careprovidersí Obligations


Jane Jankowski and Paul Burcher


      This article presents the case of a mother who is planning a home birth with a midwife with the shared knowledge that the fetus would have congenital anomalies of unknown severity. We discuss the right of women to choose home birth, the caregiversí duty to the infant, and the careprovidersí dilemma about how to respond to this request. The ethical duties of concerned careproviders are explored and reframed as professional obligations to the mother, infant, and their profession at large. Recommendations are offered based on this case in order to clarify the considerations surrounding not only home birth of a fetus with anticipated anomalies, but also to address the ethical obligations of caregivers who must navigate the unique tension between respecting the motherís wishes and the duty of the careproviders to deliver optimal care.



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