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Reprod Biomed Online. 2013 Feb;26(2):142-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Views of internists towards uses of PGD.

Author information

1
Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, Mail Unit 15, New York, NY 10032, USA. rlk2@columbia.edu

Abstract

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is increasingly available, but how physicians view it is unclear. Internists are gatekeepers and sources of information, often treating disorders for which PGD is possible. This quantitative study surveyed 220 US internists, who were found to be divided. Many would recommend PGD for cystic fibrosis (CF; 33.7%), breast cancer (BRCA; 23.4%), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP; 20.6%) and familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (19.9%), but few for social sex selection (5.2%); however, in each case, >50% were unsure. Of those surveyed, 4.9% have suggested PGD to patients. Only 7.1% felt qualified to answer patient questions about it. Internists who would refer for PGD had completed medical training less recently and, for CF, were more likely to have privately insured patients (P<0.033) and patients who reported genetic discrimination (P<0.013). Physicians more likely to refer for BRCA and FAP were less likely to have patients ask about genetic testing. This study suggests that internists often feel they have insufficient knowledge about it and may refer for PGD based on limited understanding. They view possible uses of PGD differently, partly reflecting varying ages of onset and disease treatability. These data have critical implications for training, research and practice. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows embryos to be screened prior to transfer to a woman's womb for various genetic markers. This procedure raises complex medical, social, psychological and ethical issues, but how physicians view it is unclear. Internists are gatekeepers and sources of information, often treating disorders for which PGD use is possible. We surveyed 220 US internists, who were found to be divided: many would recommend PGD for cystic fibrosis (CF; 33.7%), breast cancer (BRCA; 23.4%), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP; 20.6%), and familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC; 19.9%) and a few for sex selection (5.2%); but in each case, >50% were unsure. Of those surveyed, 4.9% have suggested PGD to patients. Only 7.1% felt qualified to answer patient questions. Internists who would refer for PGD completed medical training less recently and, for CF, were more likely to have privately insured patients and patients who reported genetic discrimination. Physicians more likely to refer for BRCA and FAP were less likely to have patients ask about genetic testing. This quantitative study suggests that internists often feel they have insufficient knowledge and may refer for PGD based on limited understanding. They view possible uses of PGD differently, partly reflecting varying ages of onset and disease treatability. Internists should be made aware of the potential benefit of PGD, but also be taught to refer patients, when appropriate, to clinical geneticists who could then refer the patient to an IVF/PGD team. These data thus have critical implications for training, research and practice.

PMID:
23276655
PMCID:
PMC3565017
DOI:
10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.11.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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