The influence of the introduction of a national prenatal screening program on late termination of pregnancy, a retrospective cohort study

Judith Horenblas, Jana de Vries, Charlotte Jansen, Emily Kleinrouweler, Jozien T. J. Brons, Wybo Dondorp, Frans Klumper, Bas Nij Bijvank, Elisabeth van Leeuwen, Eva Pajkrt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To assess the influence of a national prenatal screening program on category 1 (lethal anomalies) late terminations of pregnancy (LTOP). Methods: In this population-based retrospective cohort study, we included all category 1 LTOPs from 2004 to 2015 in the Netherlands. The number of LTOPs before and after the introduction of the program was compared as well as the diagnostic process and factors contributing to LTOP. Results: In total, 97 LTOPs were reported. After the introduction of the program, the number of LTOPs decreased from 17 per year to 5 per year on average. The number of cases in which the diagnostic process started with obstetric indications decreased from 55% to 17% (p < 0.01) and the number of cases detected by routine screening increased from 11% to 52% (p < 0.01). Four factors still contributed to LTOP after the introduction of the screening program: diagnostic or parental delay (40%), absence of screening (24%), false negative results of prior screening (14%) and late onset of disease (12%). Conclusion: The number of LTOPs decreased after the introduction of the screening program. At present, the diagnostic process is mostly screening driven. Parental- and diagnostic delay is still an important factor that contributes to LTOP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1087
Number of pages9
JournalPrenatal diagnosis
Issue number8
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Cite this