Author(s): Pergament E, Pergament D
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Abstract A broad range of testing modalities for fetal genetic disease has been established. These include carrier screening for single-gene mutations, first-trimester and second-trimester screening for chromosome abnormalities and open neural-tube defects, prenatal diagnosis by means of chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Reproductive decisions before and after fetal genetic counselling represent the culmination of a dynamic interaction between prospective parents, obstetrician and genetic counsellor. The decision to undergo genetic testing before and after genetic counselling is influenced by a host of interrelated factors, including patient-partner and family relationships, patient-physician communication, societal mores, religious beliefs, and the media. Because of the complexity of personal and societal factors involved, it is not surprising that genetic counselling concerning reproductive decision-making must be individualised. A limited number of principles, guidelines and standards apply when counselling about testing for fetal genetic disease. These principles are that genetic counselling should be non-directive and unbiased and that parental decisions should be supported regardless of the reproductive choice. A critical responsibility of the obstetrician and genetic counsellor is to provide accurate and objective information about the implications, advantages, disadvantages and consequences of any genetic testing applied to prospective parents and their fetuses. These principles and responsibilities will be tested as newer technologies, such as array comparative genome hybridisation, non-invasive prenatal diagnosis and sequencing of the entire genome are introduced into the field of reproductive genetics and become routine practice. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol
and referenced in Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research