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Genet Med. 2012 Jan;14(1):115-21. doi: 10.1038/gim.0b013e31822ebaa6. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Caregiver opinions about fragile X population screening.

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Social, Statistical, and Environmental Sciences Group, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.



We sought to determine caregiver perceptions about population screening for fragile X and to examine factors potentially associated with support for screening.


We asked 1,099 caregivers of a child with fragile X syndrome or a fragile X carrier to rate whether free, voluntary screening should be offered preconception, prenatally, neonatally, or when problems occur. Caregivers chose a preferred time for screening, reported whether screening would affect parent-child bonding, indicated preferences for carrier detection, and gave reasons for their choices.


Caregivers endorsed all forms of screening, but prenatal screening was less strongly endorsed than preconception or postnatal screening. Most (79%) preferred preconception carrier testing, allowing more options when making reproductive decisions. Most thought that screening should also disclose carrier status and believed a positive screen would not negatively affect parent-child bonding. Maternal education, caregiver depression, family impact, and severity of disability were not associated with screening opinions, but parents who only had carrier children were less likely to endorse prenatal screening.


Caregivers of children with fragile X widely endorse screening. However, because different parents will make different choices, screening may need to be offered at multiple times with careful consideration of consent and informed decision-making.

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