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Prenatal DNA tests, such as chromosomal microarray analysis or exome sequencing, increase the likelihood of receiving a diagnosis when fetal structural anomalies are identified. However, some parents will receive uncertain results such as variants of uncertain significance and secondary findings. We aimed to develop a set of attributes and associated levels for a discrete-choice experiment (DCE) that will examine parents’ preferences for tests that may reveal uncertain test results. A two phase mixed-methods approach was used to develop attributes for the DCE. In Phase 1, a “long list” of candidate attributes were identified via two approaches: 1) a systematic review of the literature around parental experiences of uncertainty following prenatal testing; 2) 16 semi-structured interviews with parents who had experienced uncertainty during pregnancy and 25 health professionals who return uncertain prenatal results. In Phase 2, a quantitative scoring exercise with parents prioritised the candidate attributes. Clinically appropriate levels for each attribute were then developed. A final set of five attributes and levels were identified: likelihood of getting a result, reporting of variants of uncertain significance, reporting of secondary findings, time taken to receive results, and who tells you about your result. These attributes will be used in an international DCE study to investigate preferences and differences across countries. This research will inform best practice for professionals supporting parents to manage uncertainty in the prenatal setting.

Original publication







Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Publication Date





e0261898 - e0261898