Original Research

Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 137-146

First online:

Consumers’ Desire towards Current and Prospective Reproductive Genetic Testing

  • Feighanne HathawayAffiliated withHuman Genetics Program, New York University School of MedicineNew York University Clinical Cancer CenterNYU Clinical Cancer Center Email author 
  • , Esther BurnsAffiliated withStern College for Women at Yeshiva University
  • , Harry OstrerAffiliated withHuman Genetics Program, New York University School of Medicine

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As our knowledge and abilities in molecular genetics continues to expand, so does our ability to detect certain conditions/traits prenatally; however, it is unknown if this increase in scientific ability will be utilized by the consumers of genetic services. Our study gauges the consumers’ opinion towards reproductive testing for diseases and enhancements. Prior to their initial visit with a genetic counselor, patients were asked to participate in a survey. These consumers were asked to indicate traits and conditions for which they would choose reproductive genetic testing. The majority of respondents would elect to have prenatal genetic testing for mental retardation (75%), deafness (54%), blindness (56%), heart disease (52%), and cancer (51%). Our results indicated that 49.3% would choose testing for a condition that resulted in death by 5 years of age, whereas only 41.1%, 24.9%, and 19% would choose testing for conditions that results in death by 20, 40, and 50 years of age, respectively. Most respondents did not desire testing for enhancements (e.g. 13% would choose testing for superior intelligence). Our study suggests that consumers desire more reproductive genetic testing than what is currently offered; however, their selection of tests suggests self-imposed limits on testing.


Genetic Testing Attitude Reproductive Screening