Preferences for prenatal tests for Down syndrome: an international comparison of the views of pregnant women and health professionals

Eur J Hum Genet. 2016 Jul;24(7):968-75. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2015.249. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


Non-invasive prenatal testing is increasingly available worldwide and stakeholder viewpoints are essential to guide implementation. Here we compare the preferences of women and health professionals from nine different countries towards attributes of non-invasive and invasive prenatal tests for Down syndrome. A discrete choice experiment was used to obtain participants' stated preference for prenatal tests that varied according to four attributes: accuracy, time of test, risk of miscarriage, and type of information. Pregnant women and health professionals were recruited from Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. A total of 2666 women's and 1245 health professionals' questionnaires were included in the analysis. Differences in preferences were seen between women and health professionals within and between countries. Overall, women placed greater emphasis on test safety and comprehensive information than health professionals, who emphasised accuracy and early testing. Differences between women's and health professionals' preferences are marked between countries. Varied approaches to implementation and service delivery are therefore needed and individual countries should develop guidelines appropriate for their own social and screening contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Down Syndrome / genetics
  • European Union
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / ethics
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / psychology*
  • Singapore