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Women’s experiences with non-invasive prenatal testing in Switzerland: a qualitative analysis


Fang, Mirriam Tyebally; Germani, Federico; Spitale, Giovanni; Wäscher, Sebastian; Kunz, Ladina; Biller-Andorno, Nikola (2023). Women’s experiences with non-invasive prenatal testing in Switzerland: a qualitative analysis. BMC Medical Ethics, 24(1):85.

Abstract

Background: Prenatal genetic testing, in particular non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), as well as screening for risks associated with pregnancy, and counseling, play pivotal roles in reproductive healthcare, offering valuable information about the health of the fetus to expectant parents. This study aims to delve into the perspectives and experiences of women considering genetic testing and screening during pregnancy, focusing on their decision-making processes and the implications for informed consent.

Methods: A nationwide qualitative study was conducted in Switzerland, involving in-depth interviews with women who were 1 to 2 years post-partum, covered by basic compulsory Swiss insurance, including women with a migration background. Thematic analysis was employed to identify key themes and patterns in the data.

Results: The findings underscore the significance of effective communication during prenatal counseling, suggesting that healthcare providers could not only convey technical information but also support women in their decision-making processes. Women need comprehensive information about genetic testing and its implications, as well as the reasons for screening during pregnancy, as there might be a need to bridge knowledge gaps and clarify misconceptions. Furthermore, the study highlights the multifaceted nature of decision-making, with women considering factors such as uncertainty, values, emotional responses, and societal support systems. The concept of acceptance emerged as a crucial theme, with some women expressing their readiness to love and accept their child, regardless of genetic anomalies or disabilities.

Conclusion: This study offers valuable insights into the perspectives and needs of women regarding prenatal genetic testing, screening, and counseling in Switzerland. It underscores the importance of enhancing the clinical interaction and informed consent process by providing comprehensive information, addressing misconceptions, and supporting women in decision-making about pregnancy management and the management of the child’s health, following prenatal genetic testing, including NIPT. These findings can inform healthcare providers and policymakers in improving the quality of prenatal counseling, ensuring informed consent, and supporting women in making well-informed and meaningful decisions about genetic testing, and on the use of screening during pregnancy.

Abstract

Background: Prenatal genetic testing, in particular non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), as well as screening for risks associated with pregnancy, and counseling, play pivotal roles in reproductive healthcare, offering valuable information about the health of the fetus to expectant parents. This study aims to delve into the perspectives and experiences of women considering genetic testing and screening during pregnancy, focusing on their decision-making processes and the implications for informed consent.

Methods: A nationwide qualitative study was conducted in Switzerland, involving in-depth interviews with women who were 1 to 2 years post-partum, covered by basic compulsory Swiss insurance, including women with a migration background. Thematic analysis was employed to identify key themes and patterns in the data.

Results: The findings underscore the significance of effective communication during prenatal counseling, suggesting that healthcare providers could not only convey technical information but also support women in their decision-making processes. Women need comprehensive information about genetic testing and its implications, as well as the reasons for screening during pregnancy, as there might be a need to bridge knowledge gaps and clarify misconceptions. Furthermore, the study highlights the multifaceted nature of decision-making, with women considering factors such as uncertainty, values, emotional responses, and societal support systems. The concept of acceptance emerged as a crucial theme, with some women expressing their readiness to love and accept their child, regardless of genetic anomalies or disabilities.

Conclusion: This study offers valuable insights into the perspectives and needs of women regarding prenatal genetic testing, screening, and counseling in Switzerland. It underscores the importance of enhancing the clinical interaction and informed consent process by providing comprehensive information, addressing misconceptions, and supporting women in decision-making about pregnancy management and the management of the child’s health, following prenatal genetic testing, including NIPT. These findings can inform healthcare providers and policymakers in improving the quality of prenatal counseling, ensuring informed consent, and supporting women in making well-informed and meaningful decisions about genetic testing, and on the use of screening during pregnancy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Issues, Ethics and Legal Aspects
Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Health Sciences > Health Policy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Health Policy, Health (social science), Issues, ethics and legal aspects
Language:English
Date:23 October 2023
Deposited On:30 Oct 2023 07:33
Last Modified:31 Jan 2024 02:43
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1472-6939
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12910-023-00964-3
PubMed ID:37872496
Project Information:
  • : FunderCollegium Helveticum, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)