It is argued that innovative health technologies (IHTs) may be changing the roles
of both patients and health practitioners, and raising new issues, including ethical,
legal and social dilemmas. This paper focuses on the innovative area of fetal medicine.
All fetal treatment necessitates accessing the fetus through the pregnant woman's
body, and non-surgical treatments have long been a part of pregnancy care. However,
recent developments in this area, including the increasing routinisation of sophisticated
antenatal ultrasound screening and the introduction of treatments including fetal
surgery, may mark a shift in this specialty. The paper explores such shifts from
the perspectives of medical and midwifery practitioners working in two Fetal Medicine
Units. It examines the apparent effects of the orientation of fetal medicine on prevalent
conceptualisations of the maternal-fetal relationship, and some of the consequences
of this. It is argued that new forms of uncertainty, including complex risk and diagnostic
information, and uncertain prognostic predictions set within the rhetoric of non-directive
counselling and women's choice, are leading to unprecedented ethical dilemmas within
this area. More widespread debate about such potential dilemmas needs to take place
before, rather than following their introduction.