Development of Genetic Counseling Services in Taiwan
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- Chien, S., Su, PH. & Chen, SJ. J Genet Counsel (2013) 22: 839. doi:10.1007/s10897-013-9586-2
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Taiwan is an emerging industrial country in subtropical Asia with a population of 23 million. There were around 200,000 newborns in 2011. Delayed first marriage, low birth rate, and rapid aging are major demographic issues. Genetic counseling services were established following the rapid introduction of genetic technology and enactment of relevant laws and regulations. Ultrasound was first used in 1968 to examine pregnant women. The first amniotic fluid laboratory was founded in 1981 to identify chromosomal abnormalities. In 1984, the Genetic Health Act was legislated for prevention and control of genetic disorders, and the metabolic disorder screen project was launched. National Health Insurance with overall coverage of prenatal examinations was established in 1995. A master-level genetic counseling program was launched in 2003 and by 2011 has graduated eighty students. Two professional societies have been formed to certify genetic counselors, and 66 professionals have been certified. In summary, genetic counseling services in Taiwan are continuously improving.