How to Decide if Prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) Screening is Right for You?

To the Point- Deciding about prenatal testing, in general, is the patient’s choice– your choice. Your doctor and genetic counselor are there to provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision that fits with your beliefs, values, needs and personality.  Your doctor will also be able to let you know if prenatal cfDNA screening is an appropriate test to offer you. The path that you choose may be very different than that of your friend or neighbor and that is ok!  

The following are some questions and thoughts to consider that may be helpful as you decide whether or not prenatal cfDNA screening is right for you:

  • How would you feel if results indicated a higher risk for a genetic condition?
    • Would you consider amniocentesis?
    • Do you think this information would help you feel more prepared?
  • If not, would you be ok waiting until the baby is born to know for sure if the condition is present if your prenatal cfDNA screening result returns high risk?
    • For example, would you consider doing anything differently if you knew the baby had a genetic condition such as prepare, consider placing baby for adoption, or consider not continuing the pregnancy?
  • Does more information with the possibility of uncertainty make you anxious?
  • Some women prefer definitive answers and since prenatal cfDNA screening cannot provide that, they may choose to go straight to a more definitive test, such as amniocentesis.
  • Some women may feel comfortable with their chance of a genetic condition or are confident that, even if the baby did have a genetic condition, it wouldn’t alter their pregnancy plans.  Or they may prefer not to face the decision of whether or not to have an amniocentesis if the prenatal cfDNA screening comes back high risk.  In these cases some women may decide not to undergo any prenatal screening or diagnostic testing.

Ultimately, the decision to have prenatal cfDNA screening or any other prenatal screening or diagnostic test is yours to make and should reflect your own personal beliefs, values, needs and personality.


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