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Prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy: perspectives of South African parents of children with Down syndrome

Prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy: perspectives of South African parents of children with Down syndrome

Journal of Community Genetics 4(1): 87-97

This study aims to evaluate the attitudes of a group of South African parents with a preschool child with Down syndrome (DS) towards prenatal diagnosis (PND) and termination of a Down syndrome-affected pregnancy (TAP). This study employs a qualitative phenomenological approach with the use of semi-structured interviews. Twelve participants were recruited from two state sector hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. The participants had a positive attitude towards PND and felt that it was every parent's right to have the option. They considered a benefit of PND the fact that it allowed parents time to prepare for the arrival of a baby with DS. The induced miscarriage risk associated with invasive prenatal testing procedures caused major negative feelings. They were totally opposed to the termination of a Down syndrome-affected pregnancy due to their personal experience, moral, ethical or religious convictions. South African parents of preschool children with Down syndrome are comfortable with PND for Down syndrome; however, they do not support TAP. These findings will provide health care providers with further insight into the motivations behind the decisions their patients make.

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Accession: 036632737

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PMID: 23096497

DOI: 10.1007/s12687-012-0122-0

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