This section of the website aims to inform and encourage debate on subjects of ethical interest relevant to the O&G. It contains links to published RCOG guidelines, material on current issues and useful resources.
The RCOG Ethics Committee considers ethical aspects and legal implications of matters of concern affecting the practice of O&G. To submit a topic for future inclusion or consideration, or to comment on the work of the Ethics Committee, please email the committee secretary.
Issues discussed by the Ethics Committee
Female genital cosmetic surgery
In 2013 the Ethics Committee published an opinion paper on ethical considerations related to female genitcal cosmetic surgery (FGCS).
- Read the full FGCS ethical opinion paper (PDF, 2.10MB)
- Read the key messages for women from the FGCS ethical opinion paper (PDF, 233KB)
- Read the joint RCOG/British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology (BritSPAG) press release on FGCS
Previous issues discussed by the Ethics Committee
Below are links to previous discussion papers produced by the Ethics Committee on various issues.
Human Rights Act (1998)
- The potential practical implcations of the Human Rights Act (1998) on the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology (PDF, 2003)
General ethics resources
The following organisations provide advice and resources on ethics issues in medicine. None of the organisations is related to the RCOG and we cannot accept responsibility for their content.
- Bioethics Today: UK bioethics resource featuring relevant news items, conference listings and a research register
- BioNews: provides news and comment on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas
- BMA ethics resources: information and guidance on medical ethics issues from the British Medical Association
- Cambridge University Hospitals Clinical Ethics Forum: provides advice to healthcare professionals about the complex ethical issues that can arise in the course of patient care
- FIGO (International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics): the only global organisation of professional societies of obstetricians and gynaecologists; search for 'ethics' for resources specific to O&G
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics: independent body formed in 1991 to consider ethical issues arising from developments in medicine and biology
- Science Media Centre: press office providing journalists with access to good-quality information about science
- UK Clinical Ethics Network: provides information and support to developing and existing ethics committees within the UK health service
These titles are a useful source of information about ethics in medicine and in O&G in particular. All are available in the RCOG library.
- Campbell A, Gillet G, Jones G (editors). Medical ethics, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2001.
- Dickenson DL (editor). Ethical issues in maternal–fetal medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2002.
- Jonsen AR, Siegler M, Winslade WJ. Clinical ethics: a practical approach to ethical decisions in clinical medicine, 5th edition. New York, Chicago: McGraw-Hill; 2002.
- McCullough LB, Chervenak FA. Ethics in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press; 1994.