Attitudes towards termination for fetal abnormality: comparisons in three European countries

Clin Genet. 1996 Mar;49(3):134-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.1996.tb03272.x.


Attitudes towards termination for a range of genetic conditions were studied in health professionals and lay people in three European countries: Germany, Portugal and the UK. The health professionals consisted of geneticists in all countries and additionally obstetricians from Portugal and the UK. The lay persons consisted of pregnant women, and male and female non-medical university employees. In all, more than 1,700 study participants completed questionnaires. Overall, health professionals were more likely than the lay persons to report that they would opt for termination following diagnosis of a fetal abnormality. Differences were found between countries and study groups. German respondents were least likely to report that they would undergo termination in the case of a fetal abnormality while Portuguese respondents were most likely to report that they would undergo a termination. Further studies are needed to determine first the extent to which differences between health professionals and lay samples reflect a difference in perception of disability, including tolerance of having a child with a disability; and second, whether such differences result in health professionals presenting termination of pregnancy in a way that is not concordant with patients' value systems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities*
  • Gender Identity
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn*
  • Germany
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Portugal
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women*
  • Sex Determination Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom