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Clin Genet. 1994 Jun;45(6):308-12.

Patient and parental attitudes toward genetic screening and its implications at an adult cystic fibrosis centre.

Author information

1
Regional Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit, Seacroft Hospital, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Abstract

General population screening for cystic fibrosis carrier status in the United Kingdom would detect 72% of at-risk couples. Proper counselling would allow these couples to make informed reproductive choices, including the possibility of prenatal diagnosis and the termination of an affected pregnancy. However, children with cystic fibrosis born in this decade, given optimum treatment, now have an average life expectancy of 40 years, and there is no unanimity of opinion on how, where, when, or even if, screening should be offered. The purpose of this questionnaire-based study was to examine the attitudes of an adult clinic population who have grown up with cystic fibrosis, and of their parents, towards genetic screening programmes and the controversies and ethical dilemmas surrounding such programmes in cystic fibrosis. Both patients and parents supported prenatal screening (88% and 90%) and the option of terminating an affected pregnancy (68% and 84%). Only 22% of patients and 10% of parents felt that screening should be limited to families with a history of cystic fibrosis, and 19% and 6%, respectively, that prenatal diagnosis should be restricted to those with a previous child with cystic fibrosis. Despite the negative aspects of any screening programme and the acknowledged ethical problems peculiar to cystic fibrosis, the conclusion of our patients and parents who have lived intimately with the illness is that there should be the option of utilising information available from genetic screening for cystic fibrosis to guide reproductive choices. Pilot programmes to define the optimum management of such screening should continue.

PMID:
7923862
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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