• 10 years;
  • Huntington disease;
  • predictive testing;
  • pre-natal testing;
  • results

This study summarizes 10-years’ experience of predictive and pre-natal testing and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for Huntington disease (HD) in Australia. Results are presented from 2036 direct mutation predictive tests conducted between January 1994 and December 2003. Thirty-eight per cent of results (776/2036) were positive, 56% (1140/2036) were negative, and 6% (120/2036)) were in the mutable normal (27–35 CAG repeats) or in the reduced penetrance (36–39 CAG repeats) ranges. Ninety-four per cent (1908/2036) and 6% (128/2036) of those tested had prior genetic risks of 50% and 25%, respectively. Twenty-seven per cent (34/128) of those at 25% risk had their genetic status changed to positive, thus revealing the positive status of their at-risk parent. During this period, 63 pre-natal tests were also conducted, and 13 children were born following PGD for HD. Social workers specializing in predictive testing counselling over this 10-year period across Australia identified and summarized particularly challenging counselling issues. These included the interpretation of mutable normal and reduced penetrance range test results, potential conflicts of interest between family members regarding testing decisions, unanticipated consequences of both predictive and pre-natal testing decisions, the importance of following protocols for predictive testing to facilitate long-term adjustment to results, and the potential for genetic discrimination. The identified issues highlight the importance of the protocols for predictive testing and indicate that extension of the international guidelines published in 1994 may be timely.