Prenatal Serum Screening Tests: Mothers’ Perspectives

Prenatal Serum Screening Tests: Mothers’ Perspectives

Anne D. Walling

(Canada-Canadian Family Physician, March 2000, p. 614.) To explore women’s attitudes toward maternal serum screening, feedback was sought from focus groups of new mothers. The 60 women in the focus groups varied greatly in their philosophies of life and views on abortion and the ethics of prenatal testing for congenital abnormality. The women all wanted to be offered prenatal genetic testing no matter what their moral or religious beliefs. The three dominant factors in the decision to accept prenatal testing were their personal values, social support (including support from their partners) and the quality of information provided by health professionals. Physicians were identified as the most important source of information. Women valued physicians who asked about personal values and the influence of social supports in discussing prenatal testing. The mothers overwhelmingly wanted accurate, unbiased and timely information. They particularly disliked arrangements where the mother was only contacted if the test indicated a problem. The researchers emphasize that all test results should be discussed with mothers to ensure that the results and the implications of the results are fully understood. Information needs described by the women in this study could apply to other prenatal genetic tests that might be available in the future.

COPYRIGHT 2000 American Academy of Family Physicians

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group