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Illustration showing a silhouette of  pregnant woman's body, with a DNA strand in her belly, magnified by a magnifying glass.

A clinical trial led by UC San Francisco has found that when pregnant women are educated about their choices on prenatal genetic testing, the number of tests actually drops, even when the tests are offered with no out-of-pocket costs.

The findings underscore the need for clear information on all prenatal testing options and their possible outcomes, including the option of no testing, before pregnant women decide whether or not to have genetic testing, the authors said.

The study also suggests that some women may have undergone prenatal screening for Down syndrome without having full information about the implications of testing, the authors said.

The article is published in the September 24, 2014 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Our findings show that prenatal testing is not appropriate for everyone, and that all women need information that is readily understood and unbiased to enable them to make informed choices reflecting their own preferences and values," said lead author Miriam Kuppermann, PhD, MPH, professor and vice chair for clinical research at the UCSF Department of Obstetrics... see more