Mark W. Leach
Health Care Section, Stites & Harbison PLLC, Louisville, KY, USA
While genetic technologies for ancestry testing and health risk assessments are relatively new, prenatal genetic testing for Down syndrome has existed for decades. Despite this long history to develop procedures, the most recent studies unfortunately find medical professionals untrained in the tests themselves, with only half of mothers accepting testing making an informed decision, resulting in increased anxiety. At the same time, mothers who continue a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis report being better prepared as a result of testing. The availability of prenatal testing, however, has caused mothers of children with Down syndrome to experience a feeling of stigmatization. Recent efforts have developed recommended best practices for delivering a diagnosis and support resources for mothers undergoing prenatal testing. These results and developments will be presented to inform what lessons can be learned, and what steps are needed, to ensure responsible implementation of other genetic technologies for health assessments.