J Genet Med.  2018 Dec;15(2):72-78. 10.5734/JGM.2018.15.2.72.

Korean physicians' attitudes toward the prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy and implementation of non-invasive prenatal testing with cell-free fetal DNA

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, CHA Gangnam Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. chadh001@chamc.co.kr
  • 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hamchoon Women's Clinic, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cheil General Hospital and Women's Healthcare Center, Dankook University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. hmryu2012@naver.com
  • 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Seoul Metropolitan Government Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul, Korea.
  • 8Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 9Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Konkuk University Medical Center, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Physicians' attitudes may have a strong influence on women's decision regarding prenatal screening options. The aim of this study is to assess the physicians' attitudes toward prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy including non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in South Korea.
Questionnaires were distributed and collected at several obstetrics-gynecological conferences and meetings. The questionnaire included 31 multiple choice and 5 fill-in-the-blank questions. Seven questions requested physicians' demographic information, 17 questions requested information about the NIPT with cell-free fetal DNA, and 12 questions requested information about general prenatal screening practices.
Of the 203 obstetricians that completed the survey. In contrast with professional guidelines recommending the universal offering of aneuploidy screening, only 53.7% answered that prenatal aneuploidy testing (screening and/or invasive diagnostic testing) should be offered to all pregnant women. Physicians tended to have positive attitudes toward the clinical application of NIPT as both primary and secondary screening methods for patients at high-risk for fetal trisomy. However, for patients at average-risk for fetal trisomy, physicians tended to have positive attitudes only as a secondary screening method. Physicians with more knowledge about NIPT were found to tend to inform their patients that the detection rate of NIPT is higher.
This is the first study to investigate expert opinion on prenatal screening in South Korea. Education of physicians is essential to ensure responsible patient counseling, informed consent, and appropriate management after NIPT.


Physicians' practice patterns; Prenatal diagnosis; Genetic testing; Prenatal care
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