Miscarriage Fears Deter Nearly Half of Women from Amniocentesis, Finds National Ariosa Survey

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San Jose, Calif., June 18, 2013 – Results from the 2013 Pregnancy and Prenatal Care study released today by Ariosa Diagnostics, and conducted online by Harris Interactive®, show that medical conditions such as Down syndrome and autism are a cause of concern for the majority of recent mothers. More than half of mothers who gave birth in the last ten years said they worried about Down syndrome and other genetic conditions (51%). In addition, findings show that nearly half of women who have ever given birth (46%) would avoid an amniocentesis, even if it was recommended by their doctor, due to the risk of miscarriage.

Ariosa commissioned Harris Interactive to field the study, which was conducted online from May 8-10, 2013, among 2,072 adults ages 18+.

“It’s encouraging to see that the vast majority of women understand the importance of prenatal screening,” said Genevieve Fairbrother, M.D., M.P.H. “Women today have access to breakthrough technological advancements in prenatal care, like the Harmony test, allowing earlier and more reliable assessment of trisomy 21, which causes Down syndrome, and other chromosome conditions. By empowering parents-to-be, we can reduce the need for unnecessary amniocentesis and additional procedures.”

Concerns Around Conceiving

Though many women may be ecstatic to learn they’re expecting, thoughts about the health of the baby aren’t far behind. When asked about pregnancy and having children, among women who have given birth in the last ten years:

  • Over half (51%) said they were worried or very worried about Down syndrome and other genetic conditions
  • More than half (52%) said they were concerned about autism
  • Two in five (40%) were worried about gestational diabetes
  • One-third (33%) indicated they were worried about the Strep B test

While the risk of many genetic conditions, including Down syndrome, increase with maternal age, younger women ages 18-34 were actually the most likely to worry about autism or Down syndrome and other genetic conditions as compared with women over age 35 (46% and 29%, respectively).

Understanding Prenatal Care

With concerns over the health of the baby typically affecting the majority of moms-to-be, women who have ever given birth largely understand the importance of prenatal screening, and most said they felt appropriately informed by their doctor about prenatal care.

  • The majority of women who have given birth (86%) understand why the baby should be screened for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions during pregnancy
  • When thinking of their most recent pregnancy, more than four in five (86%) women who’ve ever given birth said they feel/felt adequately informed about prenatal care from their healthcare provider
  • Finances appear to be a concern for many when considering prenatal care, as 25% of women who have ever given birth agreed that cost was a major factor in their decision-making for prenatal care

Avoiding an Unnecessary Amnio

Though expectant moms may feel knowledgeable on the requisite prenatal tests, most are not eager to undergo an amniocentesis.

  • Among women who gave birth in the last ten years, 38% said they are worried about amniocentesis
  • Nearly one in two women who’ve ever given birth (46%) agreed that the risk of miscarriage would prevent them from getting an amniocentesis prenatal test, even if it was recommended by their doctor
    • This finding rose to 58% of women ages 35-44, who are generally considered to be high-risk based on their age and recommended for an amnio

The Harmony test assesses risk of trisomy 21, which causes Down syndrome, with greater than 99% accuracy and also provides information on other trisomy conditions. The Harmony test is the most affordable non-invasive prenatal test available for patients. More recently, Ariosa began offering the Harmony with X,Y chromosome analysis test, which provides parents information on the sex of the baby as well as sex chromosome conditions as early as 10 weeks.

QuickQuerySM Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ariosa from May 8-10, 2013 among 2,072 U.S. adult adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,104 are women, 968 are men, 715 are women who’ve ever given birth and 514 are men whose spouse/partner/significant other has ever given birth. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jenny Davis