What are women saying about noninvasive prenatal testing? An analysis of online pregnancy discussion forums


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to explore what women are saying about noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in online discussion forums.MethodsInductive thematic analysis of content from 13 open-access discussion forums written in English from 11 popular maternity websites from four different countries (the United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, and Australia) between 2013 to 2017 (n = 127 women).ResultsThe forums were a space where women were provided with emotional support and advice in making their decision about NIPT as screening option. Justifications were made for paying for NIPT with terminology echoing commercial advertising “price was high … well worth the peace of mind.” Paying for NIPT was referred to as a shopping exercise to find the “best deal.” Women in the United States often talked about having to choose between NIPT and a scan because their insurance “won’t pay for both.” Commercial influence on maternity care providers’ preference for different brands of NIPT was evident: “my doctor only uses [brand]. He said it’s the best one on the market.”ConclusionOur findings highlight women’s need for experiential information in prenatal screening counselling and how NIPT commercialization influences both routinized perspectives, and access, which may affect informed choice and best evidence screening practice.What’s already known about this topic?NIPT is a screening tool for fetal chromosomal anomalies.There are many companies offering this test with inter- and intra-country variance regarding reasons for use and access.What does this study add?Women report difficulty obtaining useful information with internet searches leaving women “Google crazy.”Motivations for having NIPT included “peace of mind” and that the cost was “worth it.”Access to NIPT was linked to provider preferences, geography, and third party coverage/ability to pay.

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