Prenatal Genetic Testing: Making the Choice That's Right for You

Psychological variables are not contained to the timing of genetic testing alone. For some, whether to even have a test is not only a psychological, but a moral issue. Our mothers often wondered, or even worried, whether their unborn child was "all right" within the womb. However, it remained a mystery to them. Have you ever heard the saying, "Be careful what you ask for; you might get it"? This is the psychological dilemma now facing many women in their standard course of prenatal care.

 

What decision is right for you and your family?
Genetic counseling is a relatively new field. A skilled genetic counselor is trained to help you sort through the risks specific to you, and help you consider your options. Psychologically, women make different choices based on their personal beliefs, their perception of their own risks, the accuracy of the tests involved and their perception of their ability to cope with a potential special-needs child.

 

Factors in continuing a pregnancy
Working in therapy with women who have chosen to continue a pregnancy that showed signs of possible abnormality has revealed to me that if a woman feels accepting of whatever kind of child she has, and believes she will be able to cope with and benefit from such a mother-child relationship, she does not terminate the pregnancy. In these cases, however, the woman also believes that her child's situation may be mild, rather than severe, as often the degree of the problem cannot be identified from the prenatal test.

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