Prenatal diagnosis for women aged 37 years and over: To have or not to have

Jane L. Halliday, Rosemary Warren, Geraldine McDonald, Pranee Liamputtong Rice, Robin J. Bell, Lyndsey F. Watson

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Forty percent of pregnant women aged 37 years and over do not have prenatal diagnosis despite being eligible for a free test. The present study aimed to determine how often, and which, untested women were making a choice about this, how many declined an offer and why. A questionnaire was given to untested women, aged 37 years and over, at no less than 24 weeks gestation. A total of 375 (81.5%) women declined, 72 (16%) were not offered a test and 13 presented too late antenatally. There was a three-fold increased likelihood (OR 3.10 95% CI 1.44, 6.65) of no offer for urban non-English speaking background women, compared with the reference group (metropolitan, English speaking). Unpartnered women were also significantly less likely to receive an offer (OR 3.18, 95% CI 1.19, 8.46). Risk to the baby was the main reason for declining. When offered non-invasive prenatal screening, most decliners of prenatal diagnosis accepted, even those who declined because they were opposed to abortion. We estimate that overall 33% of older pregnant women were being offered and declining amniocentesis and/or chorion villus sampling (CVS). Only 6% were not offered a test, but this small proportion is over-represented by minority groups who must be given equal opportunity to make this choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-847
Number of pages6
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2001


  • Maternal age
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Prenatal screening
  • Reproductive choice

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