Preconceptional ancestry-based carrier couple screening for cystic fibrosis and haemoglobinopathies: what determines the intention to participate or not and actual participation?

P. Lakeman, A.M.C. Plass, L. Henneman, P.D. Bezemer, M.C. Cornel, L.P. ten Kate

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This paper explores determinants of the intention to participate or not and of actual participation in preconceptional ancestry-based carrier couple screening for cystic fibrosis (CF) and haemoglobinopathies (HbPs). In total, 9453 individuals from a multi-ethnic population were invited. Invitees who had a partner and who were planning a pregnancy were the target population (33-36%). Test participation was conditional on survey participation. Those who refrained from test participation were asked to participate in the survey only. The questionnaire was based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, which explains behaviour through intention. It was completed by 418 survey participants: 171 who intended to participate in the testing, and 247 who refrained from test participation. Both test intenders and offer decliners generally had a positive attitude towards test participation, and perceived high behavioural control. This applied to Western and non-Western survey participants equally. Offer decliners, however, perceived less control in terms of the time and effort needed for participation. Still, 68% of them intended to participate in the future if the screening would be offered routinely. Test intenders more often would draw reproductive consequences from test results, perceived a higher risk of being a carrier, more benefits and less adverse psychological outcomes. Feelings of stigmatisation were not an important issue, but 14% thought that there would be discrimination against carriers: among them more were non-Western survey participants. Preconceptional ancestry-based CF and HbPs carrier screening was evaluated as positive and desirable among Western and non-Western survey participants. The effort and time needed for participation were important reasons for declining participation, which might be overcome by improving access to the screening.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 18 February 2009; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.1
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)999-1009
JournalEuropean journal of human genetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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