Two-thirds of parents who have a child with a genetic problem avoid pregnancy rather than have tests to identify, or avoid the birth of, another affected child, according to a study that included clients of a state-wide rural genetic outreach program in the United States.
Of the parents who decided to have more children, most decided not to have prenatal screening or testing, United Press International reported. The findings appear in the journal Sociology of Health and Illness.
"Prenatal testing procedures -- to detect genetic conditions or fetal anomalies -- were perceived by many parents as presenting rather than resolving risks," researcher Dr. Susan Kelly, of the University of Exeter in the U.K., said in a news release.
The widespread ambivalence about such testing isn't a simple rejection of medical intervention, opposition to abortion, or the result of parents' positive experience with a child with a genetic problem, Kelly said. It also a wish for more control among parents with more awareness about the limitations of new reproductive technologies, UPI reported.