An Ethical Argument for Health Insurance Coverage of Paternal Prenatal Genetic Testing

Michelle T. Nguyen, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Richard H. Lee, Brian T. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite evidence-based recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Medical Genetics to offer prenatal genetic carrier screening for reproductive partners, partner carrier screening or genetic testing is inconsistently covered by pregnant patients' health insurance plans. Health policies that exclude reproductive partners from insurance coverage for prenatal carrier screening or genetic testing contradict multiple ethical principles and can even contribute to adverse maternal-child health outcomes. Incomplete or missing information regarding partner carrier status can lead to costly, invasive, and potentially risky interventions for the pregnant patient that can be avoided by a simple and less expensive blood test in the reproductive partner. Lack of information regarding carrier status also harms the neonate by obviating an opportunity for early detection and treatment of potential medical complications. Insurance policies that exclude coverage for paternal genetic testing perpetuate the disproportionate burdens of pregnancy care and risk shouldered by pregnant people. To rectify these ethical dilemmas, partner carrier screening and genetic testing should be considered and covered as routine components of obstetric health care that are covered by health insurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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