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J Genet Couns. 2013 Oct;22(5):643-53. doi: 10.1007/s10897-013-9596-0. Epub 2013 May 25.

Two decades of Huntington disease testing: patient's demographics and reproductive choices.

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Breast Care, Community Physician Network, 8040 Clearvista Parkway, Suite 550, Indianapolis, IN, 46256, USA.


Predictive testing for Huntington disease (HD) has been available in the United States (US) since 1987, and the Indiana University Predictive Testing Program has been providing this testing since 1990. To date there has been no published description of those who present for such testing in the US. Here we describe demographics of 141 individuals and reproductive decision making of a subset of 16 of those individuals who underwent predictive HD testing between 1990 and 2010 at one site in the US. This study is a retrospective chart review of the "Personal History Questionnaire" participants completed prior to testing. As seen in other studies, most participants were female (64.5 %), in their mid-30s (mean = 34), and had at least one child prior to testing (54 %). Multiple demographic datum points are described, and the reproductive decision making of these at-risk individuals was analyzed using Fisher's Exact Tests. Of those women who had children before learning of their risk to inherit HD, those who attended church more frequently, had three or more children total, or whose mother was affected with HD were more likely to be comfortable with their choice to have children. We conclude that these demographic factors influence the reproductive decision-making of individuals at risk for HD. Psychologists, clinical geneticists, and genetic counselors may be able to use this information to help counsel at-risk patients regarding current or past reproductive decision making.

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