A Bioethical case study on fetal alcohol syndrome By Jessica Baker

Essay by bakonHigh School, 12th grade June 2004

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This report aims to outline the bioethical issue of fetal alcohol syndrome whilst also discussing the various positions of stakeholders and the legal rights such stakeholders have. This report will also give insight to biological information regarding fetal alcohol syndrome. The information in this report has been compiled through extensive research of text resources, posters and also magazine articles.


Bioethics is to be understood as one type of applied ethics; it represents the application of general normative ethical theories, principles, and rules to therapeutic practice, health care resources and delivery and health- related research (Mitchell and Lovat, 1993, p.12).


Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition where a baby can be born with moderate to severe retardation, facial and cranial dysmorphology, and a variety of learning and behavioural problems, all due to the mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol passes the placental barrier within minutes of consumption and fetal blood alcohol levels rise to equal maternal blood alcohol levels (Olds, London & Ladewig,1996).The

chances of a mother giving her baby this condition is greatest during the early stages of pregnancy when organogenesis is occurring. Alcohol at this stage interferes with cell division and growth.. While the embryo's brain is going through crucial stages of development in the early weeks of pregnancy alcohol consumption in the third trimester is also dangerous. This is because at this stage the brain is growing most rapidly and alcohol may enter the central nervous system and retard that growth (Access Excellence 2004).


Identify and define the bioethical issue involved in fetal alcohol syndrome:

For over a century fetal alcohol syndrome, commonly referred to as FAS has aroused storms of bioethical controversy all over the world. The bioethical issue that is in...