1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · Events

Egenis Seminar with Dr Hannah Farrimond 'What do lay people think about new non-invasive prenatal genetic diagnosis technologies?'

Seminar   29.11.2010






Dr Hannah Farrimond, Egenis Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Organised by



University of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ

Room no: GF7, Byrne House

Event details


NIPD (non-invasive prenatal diagnosis) is a group of novel technologies which has the potential to allow earlier and safer genetic diagnosis of the fetus in the womb from a sample of maternal blood. At a clinical level, this represents an advantageous risk reduction in comparison with existing invasive techniques, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Existing academic work has focused primarily on the bioethics of NIPD, particularly over fears of exacerbating routinization and normalization of screening and termination for genetic disabilities. However, little research to date has considered what the public themselves think of the introduction of NIPD technologies. This paper presents the results of a Q-methodology study (a type of factor analysis combined with qualitative interpretation) conducted by Dr Farrimond and Dr Kelly in 2009. This involved 71 participants in the UK, where diagnosis is a well-established part of ante-natal care. Four distinct viewpoints were identified: NIPD as ‘discrimination against the disabled’, as ‘a clinical risk reduction’, as ‘for severe disorders only’ and ‘a personal choice’. A strong consensus emerged over the problems of direct-to-consumer and commercial NIPD. The discussion will look at how these lay viewpoints might translate in the policy arena. The medical framing of such technologies as ‘non-invasive’ is also critically considered.

3:00 - 4:30 pmAbstract:

Further details