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Am J Hum Genet. 1995 Mar;56(3):769-76.

Prenatal genetic counseling for hemoglobinopathy carriers: a comparison of primary providers of prenatal care and professional genetic counselors.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, NY 14642.


Health personnel trained in medical genetics are insufficient to meet the demand for genetic services. Methods must be found to enable primary care providers to offer commonly needed genetic services themselves. In our recently reported community-wide prenatal screening program for hemoglobinopathies, 36% of women detected to have a hemoglobinopathy did not come to a tertiary center for counseling and thus may have not benefited from testing. To determine whether the efficiency of the program could be increased if counseling were provided by the prenatal care provider (obstetrician or family practitioner), we developed a pilot training program on the basis of our experience in offering such services and enlisted 68% of regional prenatal care providers to participate. The proportion of patients detected to have a hemoglobinopathy who received counseling was similar in the primary and tertiary provider groups: 59% versus 50%, respectively, for sickle trait, and 69% versus 66%, respectively, for beta-thalassemia trait. Knowledge after counseling was also similar for the primary and tertiary provider groups: 64% versus 66% (mean % correct), respectively, for sickle trait, and 79% versus 78%, respectively, for beta-thalassemia trait. However, the two provider groups significantly differed with regard to whether or not the patient had her partner tested. For sickle trait, it was 25% for the primary providers but 49% for the tertiary providers (P < .001). For beta-thalassemia trait, it was 47% for the primary providers but 78% for the tertiary providers (P < .001).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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