Infertility Counseling and Misattributed Paternity: When Should Physicians Become Involved in Family Affairs?


Stephen P. Pittman, Syed M. Alam, Tarris Rosell, and Ajay K. Nangia


Infertility specialists may be confronted with the ethical dilemma of whether to disclose misattributed paternity (MP). Physicians should be prepared for instances when an assumed father’s evaluation reveals a condition known for lifelong infertility, for example, congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens (CBAVD). When there is doubt regarding a patient’s comprehension of his diagnosis, physicians must consider whether further disclosure is warranted. This article describes a case of MP with ethics analysis that concludes that limited nondisclosure is most consistent with a physician’s principled duties to inform, to respect patients’ autonomy, and to employ nonmaleficence (including the avoidance of psychosocial harms).




This .pdf file may be viewed, downloaded, and/or printed for personal use only.

Access to this .pdf will end when you close the file.


Terms and conditions:

You will have purchased one-time access to a .pdf of this article.

Purchasers may not:

• Distribute a copy of the article, online or in print, without the express written permission of JCE.

• Post the article online in any way.
• Charge another party for a copy of the article.