Paternity testing in Italy is usually performed by private laboratories and universities having direct contacts with the applicants. Recently, the number of paternity tests offered through laboratory websites has increased in Italy and Europe. The execution of genetic tests, including paternity testing based on DNA analysis, represents a complex act, which contains three main steps. Paternity analyses carried out by laboratories via Internet are performed on samples collected by the applicants and then mailed back to the laboratories without any patient– physician relationship. Information is given to the subjects through the laboratory’s website or mailed with the test order form. The execution of ‘‘household’’ DNA analysis without technical precautions may provide an incorrect response with severe consequences on the individual who has undergone testing, on the family involved, and on society in general. The problems connected with this kind of analysis are not technical, but ethical and deontological. In this work, we will discuss the problems related to information and consent by way of outlining the relevant Italian laws and codes of medical ethics. The Italian Privacy’s Guarantor is assessing the ethical and legal implications, but regulations are not yet in place.We believe that adequate information related to this practice cannot be given via Internet, and, consequently, the validity of the consent expressed during this kind of procedure can be uncertain. Further, we will analyze issues regarding the importance ofminors’ protection when a paternity test is performed via Internet. In our opinion, the complexity of the situations and expectations linked to paternity investigations require a special sensitivity in dealing with each case, based on a patient–physician relationship in the decision-making process especially referring to the defense of the minors’ well-being.

Information and Consent in Internet Paternity Testing: Focus on Minors' Protection in Italy.

CAENAZZO, LUCIANA;TOZZO, PAMELA;BENCIOLINI, PAOLO;RODRIGUEZ, DANIELE
2008

Abstract

Paternity testing in Italy is usually performed by private laboratories and universities having direct contacts with the applicants. Recently, the number of paternity tests offered through laboratory websites has increased in Italy and Europe. The execution of genetic tests, including paternity testing based on DNA analysis, represents a complex act, which contains three main steps. Paternity analyses carried out by laboratories via Internet are performed on samples collected by the applicants and then mailed back to the laboratories without any patient– physician relationship. Information is given to the subjects through the laboratory’s website or mailed with the test order form. The execution of ‘‘household’’ DNA analysis without technical precautions may provide an incorrect response with severe consequences on the individual who has undergone testing, on the family involved, and on society in general. The problems connected with this kind of analysis are not technical, but ethical and deontological. In this work, we will discuss the problems related to information and consent by way of outlining the relevant Italian laws and codes of medical ethics. The Italian Privacy’s Guarantor is assessing the ethical and legal implications, but regulations are not yet in place.We believe that adequate information related to this practice cannot be given via Internet, and, consequently, the validity of the consent expressed during this kind of procedure can be uncertain. Further, we will analyze issues regarding the importance ofminors’ protection when a paternity test is performed via Internet. In our opinion, the complexity of the situations and expectations linked to paternity investigations require a special sensitivity in dealing with each case, based on a patient–physician relationship in the decision-making process especially referring to the defense of the minors’ well-being.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2469725
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