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Med J Aust. 2009 Nov 2;191(9):499-501.

Outcomes of a cystic fibrosis carrier testing clinic for couples.

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Hunter Genetics, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.



To review the outcomes of offering carrier testing for cystic fibrosis (CF) to couples considering pregnancy, and to women in early pregnancy and their partners.


An after-hours clinic was established in Newcastle for discussion of issues related to prenatal testing. Couples were offered CF carrier testing by extracting DNA from a mouthwash sample. An expanded one-step model was used with both partners being tested initially for the p.F508del cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene (CFTR) mutation. If one partner was a p.F508del carrier, the other partner was tested for an additional 28 CFTR mutations.


Of 1000 individuals who were offered CF carrier testing, none declined. No re-collections of mouthwash samples were required, and results were available within 14 days. There were 730 individuals who had no family history of CF (73%); 27 were carriers (4%; 95% CI, 2.4%-5.3%), and there were two high-risk couples where both partners were carriers of p.F508del. There were 270 individuals who had an affected family member with CF or a child identified as a CF carrier through newborn screening; 126 were carriers (46%; 95% CI, 40.6%-52.8%), and there were two high-risk couples - one couple where both partners were carriers of p.F508del, and another couple where the woman was homozygous for p.F508del and the man was a p.F508del carrier. The information on carrier status led the four high-risk couples to change their reproductive decisions to avoid having a child with CF.


CF carrier testing for couples using an expanded one-step model will detect about 80% of high-risk couples and enables various reproductive choices. We believe that all couples considering pregnancy, and women in early pregnancy and their partners, should be offered CF carrier testing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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