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Yale J Biol Med. 1977 May-Jun;50(3):275-89.

Prenatal diagnosis: a directive approach to genetic counseling using decision analysis.


The decision which prospective parents face concerning mid-trimester amniocentesis for prenatal diagnosis was examined by decision analysis. The prospective parents' decision depends on the likelihood of the birth of a child affected by a genetic disorder, the risk of amniocentesis, and the probability that the diagnoses provided by the amniocentesis will be correct. The couple's decision must also depend on their attitudes toward each possible outcome. The likelihoods of the outcomes can be obtained from appropriate medical consultation, while the relative costs or burdens of the outcomes should be obtained from the prospective parents. A truly informed decision for this couple can then be formulated from these probabilities and values, thus allowing genetic counseling to be more directive. The technique is illustrated for the prenatal diagnosis of Down's syndrome, meningomyelocele, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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