Prenatal detection and evaluation of differences of sex development: A qualitative interview study of parental perspectives and unmet needs

J. Whitehead, Josephine Hirsch, Ilina Rosoklija, Allison Goetsch Weisman, Jeffrey Dungan, Courtney Finlayson, Diane Chen, Emilie K. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Prenatal diagnoses of differences of sex development (DSD) are increasing due to availability of cell-free DNA screening (cell-free DNA screening (cfDNA)). This study explores first-hand experiences of parents whose children had prenatal findings of DSD. Methods: Eligible parents were identified through chart review at a pediatric center and interviewed about their prenatal evaluation, decision making, informational sources, and support systems. Interviews were coded using a combined inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Parents also completed quantitative measures of decisional regret. Results: Seventeen parents (13 mothers; 4 fathers) of 13 children (with 7 DSD diagnoses) were recruited. Four children had discordance between sex predicted by cfDNA versus prenatal ultrasound, and 2 had non-binary appearing (atypical) genitalia on prenatal ultrasound. Of these 6, 3 were not offered additional prenatal testing or counseling. Most parents described tension between obtaining support through disclosure of their child's diagnosis and preserving their child's autonomy/privacy, highlighting the need for mental health support. Conclusion: This is the first study to gather qualitative data from parents whose children had prenatal findings of DSD. We identified multiple targets for intervention to improve care for patients with DSD across the lifespan, including improvements in clinician education, pre- and post-test counseling, and patient education materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1342
Number of pages11
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Volume42
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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