Determinants of parental decisions after the prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome

Am J Med Genet. 1998 Sep 23;79(3):172-4. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-8628(19980923)79:3<172::aid-ajmg4>;2-p.


We evaluated demographic factors and factors specific to the current pregnancy, and their relationship to the decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy after prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. All cases of Down syndrome (DS) managed at a tertiary care center from 1989-1997 were retrospectively analyzed with respect to maternal age, parity, gestational age, sonographic findings, insurance status, and race. Of 145 cases of trisomy 21, 19 (13.1%) of women chose continuation of pregnancy, while 126 (86.9%) chose termination. There were no differences between groups in parity, sonographic findings, insurance status, or race at the time of diagnosis. However, patients who chose termination were significantly older and earlier in gestation than those electing to continue their pregnancy. When Down syndrome is diagnosed prenatally, the choice of termination is related to maternal age and gestational age, but only gestational age is a significant independent predictor of pregnancy termination.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Eugenic / statistics & numerical data
  • Abortion, Legal / statistics & numerical data
  • Down Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal