Study Objective: We sought to evaluate the prenatal decision-making of pregnant adolescents identified at increased risk for identifiable fetal genetic abnormalities. Design: A retrospective review of records of gravid women 19 years old or younger undergoing genetic counseling from 2001-2003 (inclusive) was undertaken. Setting: Hospital-based academic center. Participants: Thirty-seven women were identified; four cases did not meet inclusion criteria. Interventions: None. Main Outcome Measure: Decision to undergo or forgo invasive prenatal testing. Results: Of the 33 women included in this study, the average age was 17.6 years (range: 15-19). Eighteen were Latinas, eight were African-Americans, and seven were Caucasians. Sixteen women had positive maternal serum screening outcomes; nine women sought counseling because of personal/family histories of genetic abnormalities, seven sought counseling after fetal structural anomalies were detected by ultrasound, and one woman sought counseling because she and her partner were positive for Mendelian disorder screening (sickle cell disease). Sixteen of the women (48.5%) chose to undergo invasive testing (15 amniocenteses, one chorionic villus sampling) whereas 17 (51.5%) chose to forgo invasive testing. Conclusions: Adolescents offered invasive prenatal diagnosis will chose to undergo or forgo such testing based on diagnostic and personal criteria as do adult women. Nonetheless, unique adolescent issues may make the process by which information is obtained and communicated during counseling to be different from counseling provided to adults. The development of new genetic screening and diagnostic protocols has and will increase the number of pregnant adolescent women who will be offered genetic counseling during their pregnancies. Such an increase in numbers will place considerably more pressure on an already taxed genetic counseling system; accordingly, new counseling paradigms will need to be developed to provide service to an expanded patient population seeking information for an increasing number of genetic issues.
- Genetic counseling
- Prenatal diagnosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology