A qualitative study looking at informed choice in the context of non-invasive prenatal testing for aneuploidy

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore women's attitudes towards non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and determine factors influencing their decisions around uptake of NIPT.

METHOD

We conducted qualitative interviews to assess knowledge, attitude and deliberation amongst women offered NIPT in a public health service. In total, 45 women took part in telephone interviews (79% participation rate).

RESULTS

Most women could recount the key aspects of NIPT discussed during pre-test counselling but had variable knowledge about Down syndrome. Analysis of women's attitudes towards undergoing NIPT revealed three dominant factors they considered when reflecting on the test: (1) how NIPT compared with alternative testing options, (2) reflections on coping and (3) moral or religious values. Exploring the deliberative process revealed the different paths women take when making decisions. For some, it was an extension of the decision to have Down syndrome screening; some considered it early on following the booking-in appointment; others made step-wise decisions about NIPT when it became relevant to them.

CONCLUSION

Our findings support the importance of personalised counselling, whereby women and their partners have the opportunity to reflect on the implications of the test results in the context of their own lives and values. Our data highlight the influence of personal circumstances on decision-making. © 2016 The Authors. Prenatal Diagnosis published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Funding sources: This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grants for Applied Research (RP-PG-0707-10107) and the NIHR Comprehensive Research Network. LSC is partially funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The funder had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation or the decision to publish.

Conflicts of interest: None declared

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