Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 628–639 | Cite as

Genetic Counseling for Couples Seeking Noninvasive Prenatal Testing in Japan: Experiences of Pregnant Women and their Partners

  • Motoko Watanabe
  • Mari Matsuo
  • Masaki Ogawa
  • Toshitaka Uchiyama
  • Satoru Shimizu
  • Naoko Iwasaki
  • Akemi Yamauchi
  • Mari Urano
  • Hironao Numabe
  • Kayoko Saito
Original Research


The recent advent of noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) has had a significant impact in the field of prenatal testing. Although reports on pregnant women who used NIPT have accumulated, little is known about the experiences of their male partners. In this study, we assessed the experiences of couples who were expecting a child and undergoing NIPT, with a focus on both the pregnant women and their partners. Questionnaires were administered to 282 participants focusing on their specific experiences at three time points: after pre-test counseling (first visit), when undergoing NIPT (second visit), and when results were received (third visit). Responses were analyzed to assess the differences between pregnant women and their partners. We found that more partners selected “family” as their first information source about NIPT and “my partner” as the first person to request NIPT than did pregnant women (35.6 vs. 5.9 %; p < 0.001 and 19.3 vs.1.5 %; p < 0.001). However, pregnant women more often consulted others including family and friends until undergoing NIPT than their partners (89.1 vs. 54.6 %; p < 0.001). Our findings suggest that it is important to encourage male partners to be actively involved in the NIPT decision-making process. Differences between pregnant women and their partners should be seriously considered when providing genetic counseling.


NIPT Prenatal testing Genetic counseling Partners Pregnant women Couples Decision-making 



We thank Y. Akizawa, E. Kondo, and M. Tsubata for support and advice; and B. Barfod and A. Holmes for critically reading the manuscript. Part of this work was carried out by a TWMU Grant-in-Aid for clinical research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Motoko Watanabe, Mari Matsuo, Masaki Ogawa, Toshitaka Uchiyama, Satoru Shimizu, Naoko Iwasaki, Akemi Yamauchi, Mari Urano, Hironao Numabe, and Kayoko Saito declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human Studies and Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the 1975 Helsinki Declaration, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients before inclusion in the study.

Animal Studies

No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this study.


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Medical GeneticsTokyo Women’s Medical UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Genetic Counseling, Graduate School of Humanities and SciencesOchanomizu UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Maternal and Perinatal CenterTokyo Women’s Medical UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Medical Research InstituteTokyo Women’s Medical UniversityTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Diabetes CenterTokyo Women’s Medical UniversityTokyoJapan

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