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    Psychiatric diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are primarily attributed on the basis of behavioral criteria. The aim of most of the biomedical research on ASD is to uncover the underlying mechanisms that lead to or even cause pathological behavior. However, in the philosophical and sociological literature, it has been suggested that autism is also to some extent a ‘social construct’ that cannot merely be reduced to its biological explanation. We show that a one-sided adherence to e…Read more
  • The ethics of complexity. Genetics and autism, a literature review
    with Hilde Peeters and Kris Dierickx
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics 171 (3). 2016.
    It is commonly believed that the etiology of autism is at least partly explained through genetics. Given the complexity of autism and the variability of the autistic phenotype, genetic research and counseling in this field are also complex and associated with specific ethical questions. Although the ethics of autism genetics, especially with regard to reproductive choices, has been widely discussed on the public fora, an in depth philosophical or bioethical reflection on all aspects of the theme…Read more
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    Cognitive Enhancement: Toward a Rational Public Consensus
    with Eman Ahmed
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4): 263-265. 2020.
  •  27
    Autisme als meerduidig en dynamisch fenomeen
    with Leni Van Goidsenhoven
    Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 110 (4): 421-451. 2018.
    Autism as a polysemic and dynamic phenomenonIn this paper we demonstrate how the dominant discourse about autism, that stresses biological explanations, has certain ethical implications. On the one hand, such discourse is exculpating. In autism’s history, genetic explanations helped removing the blame from so-called refrigerator mothers. In present-day diagnostic practice, the idea of having a biological diagnosis helps people and their parents see beyond blame and guilt. On the other hand, a si…Read more
  •  14
    With the new and highly accurate noninvasive prenatal test, new options for screening become available. I contend that the current state of the art of NIPT is already in need of a thorough ethical investigation and that there are different points to consider before any chromosomal or subchromosomal condition is added to the screening panel of a publicly funded screening program. Moreover, the application of certain ethical principles makes the inclusion of some conditions unethical in a privatel…Read more
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    The screening of in vitro embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization treatment for chromosomal abnormalities has as a primary aim to help patients achieve a successful pregnancy. Most IVF centers will not transfer aneuploid embryos, as they have an enhanced risk of leading to implantation failure and miscarriage. However, some aneuploidies, such as trisomy-21, can lead to viable pregnancies and to children with a variable health prognosis, and some prospective parents may request transfer of …Read more
  •  81
    Ethical responsibilities towards dogs: An inquiry into the dog–human relationship (review)
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (1): 3-14. 2009.
    The conditions of life of many companion animals and the rate at which they are surrendered to shelters raise many ethical issues. What duties do we have towards the dogs that live in our society? To suggest answers to these questions, I first give four possible ways of looking at the relationship between man and dog: master–slave, employer–worker, parent–child, and friend–friend. I argue that the morally acceptable relationships are of a different kind but bears family resemblances to the latte…Read more
  • Science and Ethics. The Axiological Contexts of Science (review)
    Ethical Perspectives 16 (4): 521-522. 2009.
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    BackgroundPrevention of mother to child transmission of HIV remains a key public health priority in most developing countries. The provider Initiated Opt – Out Prenatal HIV Screening Approach, recommended by the World Health Organization lately has been adopted and translated into policy in most Sub – Saharan African countries. To better ascertain the ethical reasons for or against the use of this approach, we carried out a literature review of the ethics literature.MethodsPapers published in En…Read more
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    The Ethics of Postponed Fatherhood
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (1): 103-118. 2017.
    Discussions about the best age to reproduce have been abundant in ethical literature. Until recently, these discussions focused on the age of women. Many scholars have tried to come to grips with the effects on the child’s well-being of having an older mother. Often, authors have focused on the social effects, such as the fact that an older mother may not be healthy enough to care for the child or the risk for the child of losing her mother at a young age. Two themes related to motherhood and ag…Read more
  • Donna Haraway, When Species Meet (review)
    Ethical Perspectives 15 (3): 422-423. 2008.
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    Whole Genome Sequencing of Children’s DNA for Research: Points to Consider
    Journal of Clinical Research and Bioethics 2 (7). 2011.
    This report is grounded in several social concepts: First, the primary goal of genetic testing should be to promote the well-being of the child. Second, the recognition that children are part of a network of family relationships supports an approach to potential conflicts that is not adversarial but, rather, emphasizes a deliberative process that seeks to promote the child's well-being within this context. Third, as children grow through successive stages of cognitive and moral development, pare…Read more
  •  56
    Paper: The return of individual research findings in paediatric genetic research
    with Herman Nys, Jean-Jacques Cassiman, and Kris Dierickx
    Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (3): 179-183. 2011.
    The combination of the issue of return of individual genetic results/incidental findings and paediatric biobanks is not much discussed in ethical literature. The traditional arguments pro and con return of such findings focus on principles such as respect for persons, autonomy and solidarity. Two dimensions have been distilled from the discussion on return of individual results in a genetic research context: the respect for a participant’s autonomy and the duty of the researcher. Concepts such a…Read more
  • The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love (review)
    Ethical Perspectives 16 (3): 398-399. 2009.
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    Double Trouble: Preventive Genomic Sequencing and the Case of Minors
    with Kris Dierickx
    American Journal of Bioethics 15 (7): 30-31. 2015.
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    Book Review: Donna Haraway-When Species Meet (review)
    Ethical Perspectives 15 (3): 422-423. 2008.