The ethical implications of routine (“screening,” non-con-sented) preoperative pregnancy testing often are obscured by scientific and legal misinformation that creates unfounded uncertainty. The process of informed consent honors what the patient wants through respecting the ethical principle of patient autonomy (self-determination). Ethically, a woman has the right to be offered pregnancy testing and to choose to consent – or refuse – testing upon being informed of the scientific facts. Awareness of an unrecognized pregnancy could affect her further decision as to whether or not to proceed with an elective procedure.

The practice advisory of the ASA Task Force on Pre-anesthesia Evaluation recommends offering an informed patient the opportunity to choose whether or not she wants to have a pregnancy test5-8 :

“The Task Force recognizes that patients may present for anesthesia with early undetected pregnancy....

You do not currently have access to this content.