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Prenat Diagn. 2004 Jun;24(6):424-9.

How do women of diverse backgrounds value prenatal testing outcomes?

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



To describe women's preferences for prenatal testing outcomes and to explore their association with sociodemographic characteristics and attitudes.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of 584 racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse pregnant women aged 16 to 47 years recruited from 23 San Francisco Bay Area practices. We assessed preferences for 12 potential prenatal testing outcomes using the time trade-off metric for all outcomes and the standard gamble metric for two outcomes. Preferences were calculated on a scale of 0 (death) to 1 (perfect health). Participants also completed a sociodemographic and attitude survey.


Highest preference scores were assigned to outcomes resulting in the birth of a chromosomally normal infant (mean = 0.91-0.93; median = 0.99-1.00). Lower scores were obtained for outcomes involving pregnancy loss (mean = 0.69-0.87; median = 0.76-0.92), which were correlated with attitudes regarding miscarriage, pregnancy termination, and Down syndrome. The lowest scores were assigned to Down syndrome-affected births (mean = 0.67-0.69; median = 0.73-0.75), which also were correlated with attitudes toward Down syndrome. We did not find a statistically significant relationship between participants' preference scores and age.


Preferences for prenatal testing outcomes vary according to the pregnant women's underlying attitudes about pregnancy loss and Down syndrome, and not according to her age. Current age/risk-based guidelines should account for individual variation in patient preferences.

Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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