Counseling for prenatal diagnosis and termination of pregnancy due to thalassemia major: a survey of health care workers' practices in Malaysia

Chin Fang Ngim, Nai Ming Lai, Hishamshah Ibrahim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Genetic counseling for thalassemia carriers is conducted by nongeneticist health care workers (HCWs) in many countries. The aim of the study was to assess Malaysian HCWs genetic counseling practices with regards to discussing prenatal diagnosis (PND) and termination of pregnancy (TOP) when counseling thalassemia carriers. Method: A total of 118 Malaysian HCWs (52 doctors and 66 nurses) completed a structured questionnaire that enquired if they would discuss PND and TOP when counseling couples with thalassemia traits, and reasons for their responses were explored. Results: All the nurses and 50 (96.1 ) doctors were in favor of discussing PND. Only 29 (58 ) doctors and 33 (50 ) nurses were agreeable to discuss about the option of TOP. Main reasons given for declining to discuss TOP were views that the condition was not serious enough (54.9 ), TOP is not permissible by their religion (17.6 ) and abortion for this indication was illegal (13.7 ). Conclusion: The results showed that HCWs in Malaysia lacked the comprehensive information and necessary skills required when counseling thalassemia carriers. When nongeneticist HCWs are tasked with such responsibilities, their practices and attitudes should be regularly evaluated so that areas of deficiencies could be identified and addressed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1226 - 1232
    Number of pages7
    JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Cite this