Non-invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy: a systematic review of Internet advertising to potential users by commercial companies and private health providers

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Abstract

Background

The development of non-invasive prenatal testing has increased accessibility of fetal testing. Companies are now advertising prenatal testing for aneuploidy via the Internet.

Objectives

The aim of this systematic review of websites advertising non-invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy was to explore the nature of the information being provided to potential users.

Methods

We systematically searched two Internet search engines for relevant websites using the following terms: ‘prenatal test’, ‘antenatal test’, ‘non-invasive test’, ‘noninvasive test’, ‘cell-free fetal DNA’, ‘cffDNA’, ‘Down syndrome test’ or ‘trisomy test’. We examined the first 200 websites identified through each search. Relevant web-based text was examined, and key topics were identified, tabulated and counted. To analyse the text further, we used thematic analysis.

Main results

Forty websites were identified. Whilst a number of sites provided balanced, accurate information, in the majority supporting evidence was not provided to underpin the information and there was inadequate information on the need for an invasive test to definitely diagnose aneuploidy.

Conclusions

The information provided on many websites does not comply with professional recommendations. Guidelines are needed to ensure that companies offering prenatal testing via the Internet provide accurate and comprehensible information. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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