Prenatal genetic screening for Down Syndrome through second trimester maternal serum screening is becoming part of routine care in Australia. Public heath policy emphasises the need for decisions to participate in screening programs to be informed. There is little evidence regarding the influence of emotional factors such as anxiety on women’s capacity to comprehend complex information required to exercise informed choice. This may be especially pertinent for younger women who may have no reason to regard themselves as at risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome. Furthermore such decision making occurs in the context of growing attachment to the unborn baby, but systematic investigation of the potential that prenatal screening has to disrupt this relationship is lacking.


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