Non-invasive prenatal testing for Down's syndrome: pregnant women's views and likely uptake

Public Health Genomics. 2013;16(5):223-32. doi: 10.1159/000353523. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Background: The introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for Down's syndrome into routine state-funded antenatal care in the UK is approaching.

Methods: We conducted qualitative one-to-one interviews with 40 pregnant women to ascertain their views on using NIPT for Down's syndrome.

Results: The overwhelming majority of women viewed NIPT as a positive advancement in prenatal care, highlighting numerous practical and psychological advantages of a safe test that was highly accurate and could be conducted early in pregnancy. Concerns raised were that testing could become routinised, and that pressure to test might occur with women feeling less justified in declining a blood test that is available and offered by trusted health professionals; the impact on the disabled community and stigma for women who decline testing was also noted. Nevertheless, the vast majority of women said they would be likely to use NIPT, including half of the women who currently decline screening. Women's preference was for pre- and post-test counselling to be delivered by a midwife.

Conclusion: The successful introduction of NIPT into routine prenatal care will require guidelines and counselling strategies which ensure women are offered this test in a way which safeguards informed consent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Down Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / adverse effects
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / psychology*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult