Purpose: Expanded carrier screening (ECS) informs couples of their risk of having offspring affected by certain genetic conditions. Limited data exists assessing the actions and reproductive outcomes of at-risk couples (ARCs). We describe the impact of ECS on planned and actual pregnancy management in the largest sample of ARCs studied to date. Methods: Couples who elected ECS and were found to be at high risk of having a pregnancy affected by at least one of 176 genetic conditions were invited to complete a survey about their actions and pregnancy management. Results: Three hundred ninety-one ARCs completed the survey. Among those screened before becoming pregnant, 77% planned or pursued actions to avoid having affected offspring. Among those screened during pregnancy, 37% elected prenatal diagnostic testing (PNDx) for that pregnancy. In subsequent pregnancies that occurred in both the preconception and prenatal screening groups, PNDx was pursued in 29%. The decision to decline PNDx was most frequently based on the fear of procedure-related miscarriage, as well as the belief that termination would not be pursued in the event of a positive diagnosis. Conclusions: ECS results impacted couples’ reproductive decision-making and led to altered pregnancy management that effectively eliminates the risk of having affected offspring.
Medicine and Pharmacology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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