, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 112-130
Date: 03 Nov 2009

Prenatal Testing for Down Syndrome: Comparison of Screening Practices in the UK and USA

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Abstract

Prenatal testing for Down Syndrome is a topic covered in every genetic counselor’s training as it constitutes the main workload of genetic counselors in prenatal settings. Most Western countries nowadays offer some type of testing for Down Syndrome. However, practices vary according to country with regards to what tests are offered, insurance coverage and the legal situation concerning the option of terminating an affected pregnancy. In view of the growing interest in international genetic counseling issues, this article aims to compare prenatal testing practices in two English-speaking countries: the United Kingdom and the United States of America. A case will be presented to highlight some of the differences in practice. The topic underlines important implications for genetic counseling practice, such as patients’ understanding of testing practices, risk perception, counseling provision and impact of prenatal testing results.