Public viewpoints on new non-invasive prenatal genetic tests.
Kelly, Susan E.
Public Understanding of Science
Prenatal screening programmes have been critiqued for their routine implementation according to clinical rationale without public debate. A new approach, non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD), promises diagnosis of fetal genetic disorders from a sample of maternal blood without the miscarriage risk of current invasive prenatal tests (e.g. amniocentesis). Little research has investigated the attitudes of wider publics to NIPD. This study used Q-methodology, which combines factor analysis with qualitative comments, to identify four distinct "viewpoints" amongst 71 UK men and women: 1. NIPD as a new tool in the ongoing societal discrimination against the disabled; 2. NIPD as a positive clinical application offering peace of mind in pregnancy; 3. NIPD as a medical option justified for severe disorders only; and 4. NIPD as a valid expansion of personal choice. Concerns included the "trivialisation of testing" and the implications of commercial/direct-to-consumer tests. Q-methodology has considerable potential to identify viewpoints and frame public debate about new technologies.
Economic and Social Research Council
types: Journal Article
Vol. 22, Issue 6, pp. 730 - 744
Place of publication