Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 640–655 | Cite as

Factors Influencing the Decision-Making Process and Long-Term Interpersonal Outcomes for Parents Who Undergo Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Fanconi Anemia: a Qualitative Investigation

Original Research


Fanconi anemia (FA) is characterized by congenital malformations, progressive bone marrow failure, and predisposition to malignancy. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is used to treat FA, and best results are attained with sibling donors who are human leukocyte antigen (HLA) identical matches. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) offers parents of an affected child the opportunity to have an unaffected child who is an HLA match. While some research has investigated parents’ experiences during the PGD process, no published studies specifically address factors influencing their decision-making process and long-term interpersonal outcomes. The aims of this study are to: (1) examine parents’ expectations and the influence of media, bioethics, and religion on their decision to undergo PGD; (2) examine parents’ social support and emotional experiences during their PGD process; and (3) characterize long-term effects of PGD on relationship dynamics (partner, family, friends), others’ attitudes, and parental regret. Nine parents participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis revealed their decision to use PGD was variously influenced by media, bioethics, and religion, in particular, affecting parents’ initial confidence levels. Moreover, the PGD process was emotionally complex, with parents desiring varying amounts and types of support from different sources at different times. Parents reported others’ attitudes towards them were similar or no different than before PGD. Parental regret regarding PGD was negligible. Results of this study will promote optimization of long-term care for FA families.


Fanconi anemia Parents Preimplantation genetic diagnosis Human leukocyte antigen Decision-making Long-term interpersonal outcomes Decisional regret 



We would like to thank the FARF and the parents who took the time to participate in this study, as well as the National Society of Genetic Counselors Research Special Interest Group who provided partial funds for this project.

This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the first author’s Masters of Science degree from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Christina Palmer served as Action Editor on the manuscript review process and publication decision.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Heather Zierhut, Patricia McCarthy Veach, Bonnie Leroy, and Katrina Haude declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Studies

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeneDxGaithersburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and DevelopmentUniversity of Minnesota - Twin CitiesMinneapolisUSA

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