wrongful birth

noun

: a malpractice claim brought by the parents of a child born with a birth defect against a physician or health-care provider whose alleged negligence (as in diagnosis) effectively deprived the parents of the opportunity to make an informed decision whether to avoid or terminate the pregnancy
also : the birth or injury at issue in such a claim

Examples of wrongful birth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This would essentially allow a wrongful birth claim to go forward. Sonia Suter, Quartz, 22 Jan. 2022 It’s not wrongful birth, but the loss of reproductive freedom. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 11 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wrongful birth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1979, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wrongful birth was in 1979

Dictionary Entries Near wrongful birth

Cite this Entry

“Wrongful birth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrongful%20birth. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Legal Definition

wrongful birth

noun
: a malpractice claim brought by the parents of a child born with a birth defect against a physician or health-care provider whose alleged negligence (as in prenatal testing or diagnosis) effectively deprived the parents of the opportunity to make an informed decision whether to avoid or terminate the pregnancy
also : the birth or injury at issue in such a claim
recognize a cause of action for wrongful birth

Note: Two factors behind the general recognition of the wrongful birth claim are scientific advances in prenatal diagnosis of birth defects and the legalization of abortion. Wrongful birth and wrongful life are distinct from malpractice claims alleging actual physical injury to a fetus caused by a negligently performed procedure.

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