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ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 524537, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/524537
Research Article

Why Do Parents Prefer to Know the Fetal Sex as Part of Invasive Prenatal Testing?

1Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, 3015 GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and HTA, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
5Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rijnstate Hospital, 6815 AD Arnhem, The Netherlands
6Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jeroen Bosch Hospital, 5200 ME ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
7Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical Spectrum Twente, 7500 KA Enschede, The Netherlands
8Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Elisabeth Hospital, 5022 GC Tilburg, The Netherlands

Received 10 October 2012; Accepted 14 November 2012

Academic Editors: R. Kimmig and P. G. Larsson

Copyright © 2012 Angelique J. A. Kooper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine whether prospective parents, primarily referred for prenatal diagnosis to exclude Down syndrome, prefer to know the fetal sex as part of invasive testing. Methods. In this prospective study 400 pregnant women undergoing amniocentesis were invited to answer a questionnaire, including information about demographic factors, current pregnancy, and previous children. In two open-ended questions they were asked why they wanted to know the fetal sex after amniocentesis or ultrasound investigation. Scores were given for reasons that could have played a role in the wish whether or not to know the sex of their unborn child. Results. A total of 210 (52.5%) questionnaires were completed. Overall, 69.0% was interested to know the fetal sex as part of the diagnostic test result. The most important reasons were curiosity (77.8%), “just want to know” (68.0%), and “because it is possible” (66.8%). The overall knowledge of sex chromosomal disorders appeared low and did not seem to affect the parent’s wish to know the fetal sex. Almost all women (96.6%) planned to have a 20-week ultrasound scan and 96.2% thought the scan to be reliable in detecting the fetal sex. A minority (28%) was willing to learn the fetal sex by ultrasound examination, whereas 65% preferred to learn the fetal sex only after the amniocentesis. Conclusion. Personal values affect the parental desire to know or not to know the fetal sex. This does not appear to be affected by invasive prenatal testing and/or genetic knowledge of sex chromosomal disorders.