It is very appropriate that this review of genetic services should appear in a book produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Obstetricians work closely with genetic services, and their care of the fetus and discerning use of prenatal diagnosis are important in the prevention of handicapping disorders. Prenatal diagnosis of many disorders is possible only because obstetric skill and the use of ultrasound have made amniocentesis and chorion villus biopsy safe procedures; the development of diagnostic ultrasound also owes much to obstetricians. In vitro fertilisation, preimplantation diagnosis and embryo research have begun as a result of the cooperation between obstetricians, biologists and geneticists. Obstetricians are also more generally involved in genetics because women in antenatal clinics frequently ask about genetic disorders and their prevention, and this involvement is likely to increase with population screening for carriers of cystic fibrosis and other common genetic disorders. Pragmatically, obstetricians have been the usual target of litigation resulting from alleged negligence involving the failure to diagnose genetic disorders in utero.


Cystic Fibrosis Prenatal Diagnosis Royal College Huntington Disease Clinical Genetic 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1991

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  • R. Harris

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