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A comparison of attitudes towards prenatal diagnosis and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis

By Chloe Louise Miller

Abstract

Technological advances in prenatal screening and diagnosis mean that it is now possible to test for a wide range of congenital conditions (Hewison et al., 2007). Traditionally testing has been carried out during pregnancy (prenatal diagnosis, PND). However, advances in technology have made it possible for diagnosis of an embryo created through in vitro fertilisation, prior to implantation into the womb (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, PGD). This means that women can avoid the birth of a child with a genetic condition without the stress of terminating a pregnancy. This raises questions about what women want from reproductive technologies, as it means they are making decisions based not only on the condition diagnosed but also on the technology used to test.\ud \ud Two studies were carried out to examine this further. In the first study, 216 participants completed a questionnaire either based on PND or PGD. Participants were asked whether they would terminate a pregnancy (PND condition) or avoid implantation (PGD condition) following diagnosis of five different genetic conditions, ranging in severity.\ud \ud The results suggest an interaction between the technology (PND or PGD) and the severity of the genetic condition diagnosed, such that for the most and least severe conditions, the number of people choosing to terminate/avoid implantation was similar for the PND and PGD groups. However for conditions in the middle range of severity significantly more people said they would avoid implantation. A within subjects interview study was carried out to explore this further and thematic analysis identified a number of themes that influenced participants’ responses.\ud \ud Overall, the results suggest that PGD may be more acceptable for women in some cases. Women considering diagnoses are likely to benefit from detailed information about both PND and PGD in order to make a fully informed decision as to which is best for them.\ud \u

Publisher: School of Medicine (Leeds)
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1083

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