NZ: Let’s deliberate “Who gets born? Pre-birth testing”

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Bioethics Council Advisory

Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council will shortly begin working on engaging the public on an issue which touches the lives of many men, women and children: pre-birth testing. Most babies born in New Zealand are tested when they were foetuses during their mother’s pregnancy. Some IVF babies are tested when they were embryos outside the mother using pre-implantation
genetic diagnoses (PGD). There are pre-birth tests for identifying all sorts of possible illnesses, diseases and physical disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome and HIV.

Many of these tests are well known, for example, amniocentesis and ultra sound. Other tests, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnoses (PGD) are less well known. What we do
know is that the range of things we are able to test for is expanding. How far we might go with pre-birth testing, who has the right to decide and what the consequences might be are very important questions.

Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council will shortly be starting the
deliberative stage of the process. We are inviting members of the public to consider 4 approaches to pre-birth testing. These approaches reflect the interests, concerns and values the Council heard from members of the public at workshops held in September. These approaches will be explained in a
“Choicebook” that will be published soon.

We would like you to indicate your interest in one of the following
deliberative events. Up to 15 people can take part in an event. Events will last for up to 3 hours.

NORTH ISLAND EVENTS
Whangarei, Tuesday 23 October
Auckland, Wednesday 24 October
South Auckland, Thursday 25 October
New Plymouth, Wednesday 14 November
Napier, Monday 12 November
Palmerston North, Tuesday 13 November
Wellington, Tuesday 20 November

SOUTH ISLAND EVENTS
Nelson, Friday 9 November
Westport, Tuesday 6 November
Christchurch, Wednesday 7 November
South Canterbury, Thursday 8 November
Dunedin, Tuesday 19 November
Central Otago, Friday 16 November
Invercargill, Thursday 15 November

MAORI EVENTS
Rotorua, Friday 26 October
Christchurch, Thursday 8 November

PACIFIC ISLAND EVENT
Wellington, Wednesday 21 November

You can indicate your interest by emailing prebirth@bioethics.org.nz or by>
filling out the form on our website. You can also express your interest by mail, fax or phone – see below for details.
Don’t forget to tell us which event you would like to attend.
We will acknowledge replies and provide you with more information about the events as planning progresses.
We would like to make sure a wide range of people from the community are included in the deliberative events. If you know people who might like to take part, we would appreciate it if you would forward this invitation to them.
In addition to the events above, you will also have the opportunity to deliberate using a new on-line forum. This will go live in October. You can find out more about the on-line forum and the project in general by visiting the ‘Who gets born? Pre-birth testing’ page on our website, emailing prebirth@bioethics.org.nz or contacting me.

Yours sincerely
John Pennington
Programme Leader
Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council
PO Box 10362
Wellington
Tel: 04 439 7673
Fax: 04 439 7700

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