Prenatal diagnosis for women aged 37 years and over: to have or not to have Academic Article uri icon


  • Forty percent of pregnant women aged 37 years and over do not have prenatal diagnosis despite being eligible for a free test. The present study aimed to determine how often, and which, untested women were making a choice about this, how many declined an offer and why. A questionnaire was given to untested women, aged 37 years and over, at no less than 24 weeks gestation. A total of 375 (81.5%) women declined, 72 (16%) were not offered a test and 13 presented too late antenatally. There was a three-fold increased likelihood (OR 3.10 95% CI 1.44, 6.65) of no offer for urban non-English speaking background women, compared with the reference group (metropolitan, English speaking). Unpartnered women were also significantly less likely to receive an offer (OR 3.18, 95% CI 1.19, 8.46). Risk to the baby was the main reason for declining. When offered non-invasive prenatal screening, most decliners of prenatal diagnosis accepted, even those who declined because they were opposed to abortion. We estimate that overall 33% of older pregnant women were being offered and declining amniocentesis and/or chorion villus sampling (CVS). Only 6% were not offered a test, but this small proportion is over-represented by minority groups who must be given equal opportunity to make this choice.


  • Liamputtong, Pranee
  • Halliday, Jane L
  • Warren, Rosemary
  • McDonald, Geraldine
  • Liamputtong Rice, Pranee
  • Bell, Robin J
  • Watson, Lyndsey F

publication date

  • October 2001

has subject area