Parent Perspectives of Support Received from Physicians and/or Genetic Counselors Following a Decision to Continue a Pregnancy with a Prenatal Diagnosis of Trisomy 13/18

Stephanie E. Wallace, Sara Gilvary, Michael J. Smith, Siobhan M. Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Families that choose to continue a pregnancy with a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 13/18 are a minority that present unique challenges for those in charge of their care. This study investigated the extent to which these patients felt supported by their healthcare providers, and any differences in the perceived level of support experienced by those working with a physician versus those working with a genetic counselor. Two online support groups, SOFT and Hope for Trisomy, distributed an online survey to their members. Means, standard deviations and chi-square analysis were calculated to describe their responses. One-hundred fourteen surveys were included in the final analysis. Respondents were more likely to agree that genetic counselors provided unbiased information in a way that they understood, compared to physicians. Review of qualitative responses found that portrayal of Trisomy 13/18 by healthcare providers used directive language when describing the lethality, morbidity and burden of the condition. Language included terms such as “incompatible with life” and comments on burden to other family members. Healthcare providers can assist families that receive a prenatal diagnosis of Trisomy 13 or 18 by providing up-to-date written resources and connecting them with support groups for parents who have received a similar diagnosis. Our study found that involving genetic counselors in the prenatal care of these patients is likely beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 27 2017



  • Genetic counselor
  • Patient support
  • Prenatal diagnosis
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Trisomy 13
  • Trisomy 18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

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