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April 8, 1998

Screening for Cystic Fibrosis—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(14):1068-1069. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-14-jac80003

In Reply.—The statement of the NIH Consensus Development Conference on CF screening1 indicated that CF carrier testing should be offered to individuals planning pregnancy or seeking prenatal testing, as well as to individuals whose relatives have CF. However, the document recognized that unintended coercion might occur if such testing were offered as part of routine prenatal care. To avoid this outcome, the panel recommended that programs providing CF carrier testing should be carefully phased in, with measures to ensure the delivery of counseling to those considering testing. The purpose of counseling would be to ensure prospective test recipients' understanding that CF carrier testing is an optional test, for use in reproductive decision making. When testing indicates that both prospective parents are CF carriers, their reproductive choices might include the decision not to have children or to terminate a pregnancy if prenatal testing indicated CF. Couples not interested in these options might choose against testing.