Women and their partners' preferences for Down's syndrome screening tests: a discrete choice experiment


  • Funding sources: This study was funded by the Medical Research Council as part of a 4-year PhD Studentship awarded to the primary author (FC). Financial support for this study was provided entirely by this studentship. The funding agreement ensured the authors' independence in designing the study, interpreting the data, writing and publishing the report.
  • Conflicts of interest: None declared



This study aimed to determine quantitatively the attributes of such screening tests that couples placed most value on.


A stated preference discrete choice experiment was conducted among a sample of pregnant women and their male partners. One four-level attribute (cost) and three two-level attributes (detection rate, gestation and time to wait for results) were used to generate eight hypothetical pairs of tests.


A total of 103 participants fully completed the questionnaire (63 women, 40 men). Overall, the sample was most concerned with test cost. However, latent class analysis showed three groups of participants whose concern for attributes differed, with cost, detection rate and delay in receiving results being the most important to each. Willingness to pay calculations showed that participants who were most concerned with detection rate were prepared to pay more than four times the amount than those most cost-sensitive would pay for the ‘best test’ option as compared with the ‘worst test’.


Overall, couples were sensitive to the price of the screening test, but explicit subgroups are also shown that would pay large amounts for improvements in other attributes, particularly detection rates. This could provide important information to policymakers and practitioners in antenatal care, specifically in relation to the trade-offs made when couples decide about antenatal screening tests. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.