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Keywords:

  • cystic fibrosis;
  • genetic screening;
  • mutation

The integration of universal cystic fibrosis screening in women's health has considerably altered the way we care for obstetric patients and likely will be the foundation for incorporating other genetic tests into routine women's health care. Prior to this change in the standard of care, screening for genetic disease was primarily limited to those individuals who had a personal or family history of the genetic condition or who belonged to a particular ethnic or racial group characterized by a high frequency of carrier and affected individuals. However, technological advances have resulted in facile and economic methodologies for detecting an increasing number of genetic mutations and in the realization that screening for common and uncommon disorders will likely be a not-too-distant-future part of routine health care. Programs that permit clinicians to properly implement genetic protocols and allow patients to make informed decisions about genetic screening and diagnostic tests are needed. The implementation of universal cystic fibrosis screening allows clinicians to recognize the benefits and pitfalls of genetic testing of the general population and encourages the development of programs that will effectively communicate genetic information to professionals and laity.