Technology is a force to be reckoned with in today’s world. Nursing is an ever-evolving field that needs to keep up with the times to stay current. Specifically advances in technology have helped people become parents that decades earlier would have either needed to choose adoption or staying childless. Procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) have allowed couples with fertility issues, single individuals, and same-sex couples to have a chance of having their own biological children. Using an electronic charting system has the ability to allow different health care providers to share information (e.g., an X-ray taken at one site can be reviewed at another, a caregiver can be alerted to all the medicines a pregnant woman has been prescribed) (Pillitteri, 2014). A great example of the use of information sharing in the perinatal setting is when I was pregnant and going through delivery with my youngest son. When I was in labor with my daughter I experienced a complete placental abruption resulting in my daughter being born by emergency C-section. While pregnant with my son I had an ob-gyn that specialized in high risk pregnancies because of information sharing that occurred within my doctor’s practice and the hospital in which I delivered a clotting disorder (Von Willebrand disease) was discovered and a repeat episode of placental abruption was avoided with my son.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” (yes, I’m quoting Uncle Ben from Spiderman). With the advent of all this technology where do we draw the line. When it comes to IVF, parents can now have the option to choose the gender of their child along with genetic features. What once was created to eliminate the possibility of passing down inherited genetic disorders has brought about a new wave of “designer babies.” Objections have been raised against mitochondrial transfer or gene editing for several reasons. First, the safety of these procedures has not been fully established. The potential for harm is great as the problems may be passed on to future generations. The introduction of these techniques for germline genetic editing may lead us further down a slippery slope. These techniques may be used for genetic enhancement and not just for treatment of genetic diseases (Pang & Ho, 2016). Another drawback to all this new technology is that many parents may be unfamiliar with how and why it’s used and what benefits it provides. Many people fear the unknown and can be hesitate to agreeing to its use if they cannot understand the benefits.
The registered nurse (RN) needs to function in many roles including, but not limited to, delivering care, educator, advocate, etc. When it comes to the nurse working in the perinatal setting he/she is providing care and being advocate to not one but two patients. Making sure the mother and/or parents understand the need and benefits for testing or procedures is crucial in fostering a therapeutic relationship. Making sure the parent(s) are provided information in a user friendly format (language appropriate if English is not the first language, video if reading is an issue, etc.) is one of the best ways for the RN to help correct issues with them being fearful of the use of new technologies or to perhaps steer them away from unnecessary ones .
Pang, R. T., & Ho, P. (2016, February). Ethics/education: Designer babies. Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Reproductive Medicine, 26(2), 59-60. doi:10.1016/j.ogrm.2015.11.011
Pillitteri, A. (2014). Maternal & Child Health Nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.