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Keywords:

  • Down syndrome;
  • prenatal testing;
  • prenatal screening;
  • parent's attitudes;
  • prenatal diagnosis;
  • policy recommendations;
  • guidelines

Abstract

This exploratory, descriptive study examined the views and opinions of parents of individuals with Down syndrome (DS) related to prenatal testing for DS and the use of age-based criteria to determine eligibility for this testing. This survey-based study was designed in collaboration with parents of individuals with DS and the British Columbia-based Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society (LMDSS). The survey was a 26-item, self-report questionnaire, which was distributed by the LMDSS. Out of the 246 potentially eligible individuals that were mailed surveys, 101 participants returned their completed surveys. The availability of prenatal screening and diagnostic testing for DS was perceived positively by 55.1% and 64.7% of parents, respectively. More than half (60.2%) of participants felt that prenatal diagnostic testing for DS should be available to all pregnant women, regardless of age. In this study, views of Canadian parents of individuals with DS aligned with the prenatal testing policy recently adopted in the USA (whereby any woman, regardless of age or risk factors, can opt for prenatal diagnostic testing) rather than with new Canadian policy (whereby eligibility for diagnostic testing is no longer offered on the basis of age, but on the basis of other risk factors). © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.