Reproductive issues and learning disability: different perspectives of professionals and parents.
The reproductive rights of adults with learning disabilities raise complex social, ethical, moral and legal issues. In this article various professionals and two parents express their views on a real-life ethical dilemma. (NB. Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.) Melanie is a 25-year-old woman with Down syndrome. She requires help with the normal activities of daily living and lives with her parents, who receive the highest level of attendance allowance. Her boyfriend, Tom, also has learning difficulties. They have been in a relationship for 3 years and Melanie has had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted for contraception. Melanie comes to see you on her own to ask you to remove her IUD: she and Tom have decided that they want to have a baby. From the conversation you get the impression that perhaps Tom wants the baby more than she does, but she does not confirm this. What would you do in this situation? (excerpt)