Prenatal diagnosis for detecting congenital malformations: Acceptance among Israeli Arab women

L. Jaber*, T. Dolfin, T. Shohat, G. J. Halpern, O. Reish, M. Fejgin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A high rate of consanguineous marriages exists within the Israeli Arab community, with approximately half occurring between first cousins. This contributes towards a high incidence of congenital malformations and autosomal recessive diseases, many of which are detectable at prenatal diagnosis. Objectives: To assess the levels of both awareness and acceptance regarding prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy among a group of Arab women in order to devise the optimal means of providing genetic counseling and general health services. Methods: A total of 231 Arab women of childbearing age were interviewed 3 days postpartum to assess their knowledge of prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy, their willingness to undergo prenatal diagnosis, and their opinions on termination of pregnancy in the event of a severely affected fetus. Results: Half the women believed that prenatal testing is not an effective (or accurate) tool for diagnosing an affected fetus. A quarter had poor knowledge on prenatal diagnosis, and a quarter believed that prenatal diagnosis does provide the correct diagnosis. Ninety-five percent said they would agree to undergo prenatal diagnosis; and in the event of a severely affected fetus, 36% said they would agree to a termination of pregnancy, 57% said they would not, and 7% were undecided. Conclusions: There is a need for special intervention programs, with guidance by health professionals, geneticists and religious authorities, that will inform this population on the increased risk associated with consanguinity, stress the importance and effectiveness of prenatal testing to identify severe congenital malformations, and help them to accept prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy if indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-350
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume2
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Congenital malformations
  • Consanguinity
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Termination of pregnancy

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