Wile, Emyr

Emyr Wile
Start date:
October 2017
Research Topic:
An exploration into whether prospective parents are being given sufficient information by medical practitioners in relation to genetic testing to give informed consent
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Karen Morrow and Trish Rees
Supervising school:
Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Often, prenatal testing is a difficult and overwhelming experience for parents. With the advancements in screening technology and access to testing which is deemed to be more accurate, it is becoming increasingly common for prospective parents to embark on the prenatal screening process to determine their chance of having a baby with, commonly, Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome and Patau’s Syndrome. This has significant legal and ethical implications on professionals and patients.

I aim to explore whether prospective parents are being given sufficient information and support at all stages of the prenatal testing pathway to deliver truly informed consent. Consent is a dynamic process and I wish to discover whether this is sufficiently appreciated throughout the screening pathway. With the recent implementation of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) by the NHS in Wales in 2018 (and its anticipated implementation by the NHS in Scotland and England), it only amplifies the need to explore this issue.

I will decipher whether current legal and ethical standards of care are being met in the context of prenatal screening. The research will examine a range of potential themes to identify any demographic trends or patterns in the standard of care being delivered by the NHS to better inform practice guidelines.