Women's responses to prenatal genetic diagnosis and attitudes to termination of pregnancy after non-invasive prenatal testing: An online survey of Western Australian women

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) using cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has expanded from detecting chromosome aneuploidy to testing for a variety of genetic conditions, including some select single gene disorders. As next generation sequencing/whole exome sequencing technology develops, it may be possible to expand NIPT of cfDNA to identify hundreds of single gene and chromosomal disorders in a fetus, thereby increasing the complexity of pretest counselling and parental decision-making. AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the views of women on the phenotypes of genetic conditions potentially detectable with expanded NIPT that they would consider severe enough to warrant pregnancy termination. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using multiple clinical scenarios, we asked women via an online survey about the early detection of several well-described genetic phenotypes in pregnancy that in theory could be detected by expanded NIPT.RESULTS: Two hundred and nineteen women participated in this study. There was high support for early diagnosis and the option for termination of pregnancy in conditions perceived as severe (52-71%). Women expressed a preference for testing to be provided by general practitioners and assigned a high value to genetic counselling support (75-90%). In the case of a continuing pregnancy, women recognised the essential role of ongoing psychosocial counselling for family members and childhood early intervention programs. CONCLUSION: Women expressed clear preferences for termination of pregnancy for severe conditions and as early in gestation as feasible. Information and support from genetic counsellors are a highly valued resource in decision-making following a prenatal diagnosis of a fetal genetic abnormality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Sep 2022

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