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What is a 'wrongful birth' lawsuit?

Not everyone feels that all children, regardless of their problems, are a gift. In fact, many people feel that modern scientific advancements have made it possible to avoid having a child with significant birth defects -- and actually feel like the correct moral choice is to not to bring a severely disabled child into this world when there's other options.

When a doctor fails to inform the parents of a child that there's a significant likelihood that their unborn child will be severely disabled, parents have the right to sue for what's called a "wrongful birth."

Suing for a wrongful birth can be emotionally complicated because people who aren't in the middle of the situation sometimes accuse parents who sue for a wrongful birth of being selfish. However, a wrongful birth lawsuit doesn't mean that you don't love your child simply because he or she was born disabled. In fact, it may be the ultimate expression of love from a parent because it means you would have been willing to not have the child rather than forcing him or her to endure a lifetime of potential pain.

A wrongful birth lawsuit simply deals with the reality of the situation. Now that the child is here, he or she may need lifelong care, endless surgeries, special therapies, hospitalization or home nursing services. That's not something that many families can afford -- which is how a wrongful death lawsuit can help. It can provide the money necessary to help your child live a secure and comfortable life despite his or her disability.

Not every birth defect is obvious through prenatal exams -- so when do you have a valid claim for wrongful birth? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did the doctor fail to diagnose a serious problem with your unborn child that he or she should have detected?
  2. Did your doctor fail to counsel you about the likelihood that you would give birth to a child with a severe genetic defect?
  3. Were you deprived of the opportunity to make a fully informed choice about whether to conceive or carry a child to term?

If the answers to these questions are in the affirmative, you may have a valid wrongful birth claim. An attorney can provide more specific information.

Source: dictionary.findlaw.com, "Wrongful Birth," accessed Aug. 03, 2017

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