A cross-country comparison of pregnant women's decision-making and perspectives when opting for non-invasive prenatal testing in the Netherlands and Belgium

Lore Lannoo, Karuna R. M. van der Meij, Mireille N. Bekker, Luc de Catte, Sarah Deckers, Koenraad Devriendt, Nele Roggen, Robert-Jan H. Galjaard, Janneke Gitsels-van der Wal, Merryn V. E. Macville, Linda Martin, Erik A. Sistermans, Kristel van Calsteren, Joachim van Keirsbilck, Neeltje Crombag, Lidewij Henneman

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Background: The Netherlands and Belgium have been among the first countries to offer non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as a first-tier screening test. Despite similarities, differences exist in counseling modalities and test uptake. This study explored decision-making and perspectives of pregnant women who opted for NIPT in both countries. Methods: A questionnaire study was performed among pregnant women in the Netherlands (NL) (n = 587) and Belgium (BE) (n = 444) opting for NIPT, including measures on informed choice, personal and societal perspectives on trisomy 21, 18 and 13 and pregnancy termination. Results: Differences between Dutch and Belgian women were shown in the level of informed choice (NL: 83% vs. BE: 59%, p < 0.001), intention to terminate the pregnancy in case of confirmed trisomy 21 (NL: 51% vs. BE: 62%, p = 0.003) and trisomy 13/18 (NL: 80% vs. BE: 73%, p = 0.020). More Belgian women considered trisomy 21 a severe condition (NL: 64% vs. BE: 81%, p < 0.001). Belgian women more frequently indicated that they believed parents are judged for having a child with trisomy 21 (BE: 42% vs. NL: 16%, p < 0.001) and were less positive about quality of care and support for children with trisomy 21 (BE: 23% vs. NL: 62%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Differences in women's decision-making regarding NIPT and the conditions screened for may be influenced by counseling aspects and country-specific societal and cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-303
Number of pages10
JournalPrenatal diagnosis
Issue number3
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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