Theresa Marteau (PhD, CPsychol) is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Psychology and Genetics Research Group at King's College, London. Over the past 20 years she has been conducting research on psychological aspects of prenatal testing and other types of health risk assessment.
Facilitating informed choice in prenatal testing: How well are we doing?
Version of Record online: 9 SEP 2001
Copyright © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Medical Genetics
Special Issue: The Evolving Practice of Genetic Counseling
Volume 106, Issue 3, pages 185–190, Autumn (Fall) 2001
How to Cite
Marteau, T. M. and Dormandy, E. (2001), Facilitating informed choice in prenatal testing: How well are we doing?. Am. J. Med. Genet., 106: 185–190. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.10006
- Issue online: 23 OCT 2002
- Version of Record online: 9 SEP 2001
- The Wellcome Trust
- prenatal testing;
- informed choice;
- communication of risk information
There is a consensus that prenatal testing services need to provide the information and support necessary for women to make informed choices about prenatal testing. Informed choices are those based on relevant information that reflect the decision-maker's values. To date, most research has focused on the information provided to women deciding whether to undergo tests. This has highlighted the poor quality of information provided to many women. There is agreement on the need to provide information on three key aspects of any test: the condition for which testing is being offered, characteristics of the test, and the implications of testing. Very little research has been conducted on decisions after the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality and how information and emotional and decisional support are and should be provided. Research is now needed in four key areas: first, on the optimal ways of organizing services to facilitate choices that are not only based on relevant information, but also reflect the decision-maker's values; second, on the most effective ways of framing information needed for the different decisions involved in prenatal testing; third, on the most effective media in which to deliver information; and, fourth, to identify aspects of counseling that facilitate informed choices following diagnoses of fetal abnormality. If we value women's ability to make informed choices about prenatal tests as highly as we value reliable laboratory tests, evidence-based quality standards need to be developed for the information and support women are given at all stages of the process of prenatal testing. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.