To assess the current appetite and provision of information regarding Down's syndrome as part of the infertility pathway, the authors conducted a survey of both patients, in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics and obstetricians in the UK.
18% of IVF units routinely provided patients with information about Down's Syndrome, while 38% of clinics had a selective policy based on patient demographics. 44% of clinics did not provide information. However, 78% of clinics surveyed believed the provision of this information was appropriate and should be discussed prior to treatment commencing.
In a survey of 50 obstetricians and feto-maternal specialists, 89% responded in favour of patients being given information about their individualised risk of Down's Syndrome with 83% suggesting it is the responsibility of the IVF units to do this. 75% of respondents suggested that information regarding available screening tests should also be discussed as part of the consultation.
All patients the authors surveyed welcomed a policy of providing information about their individual risk of Down's Syndrome, and the available screening options. 98% of patients were aware of Down's Syndrome, with 54% of patients aware that incidence increased with maternal age. 80% of patients identified ‘amniocentesis’ as the only test available, while 14% of patients were aware of the availability of Combined testing and or nuchal translucency. The majority of patients would consider an appropriate test when given the option, with 98% agreeing that combined screening would be their preferred test. 10% of patients would reconsider IVF treatment if their age related risk was considered high.
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