Factors affecting performance of prenatal genetic testing by Israeli Jewish women

Carron Sher, Orly Romano-Zelekha, Manfred S. Green, Tamy Shohat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of prenatal genetic tests that are being offered to women is constantly increasing. However, there is little national data as to who is performing the tests and the reasons for doing or not doing so. This study evaluated the proportion of Jewish women in Israel who perform the various prenatal genetic tests and the factors affecting the performance of these tests. It was found that 60.9% of the women performed the triple test, 50.8% of women older than 35 years performed amniocentesis, while 63.3 and 24.3% of women performed Tay-Sachs and fragile-X carrier testing respectively. Ninety-six percent of the secular women compared to only 6.7% of the ultrareligious women performed the triple test. It was also found that 94.4% of the secular women, 36.4% of the religious, and none of the ultrareligious women older than 35 years performed amniocentesis. In the stepwise regression analysis, being secular, having a higher income, fewer children, and being of Ashkenazi origin remained significant factors in determining performance of Tay-Sachs carrier testing. As regards fragile-X carrier testing, being secular, having fewer than four children, and having a higher income and a supplementary medical insurance remained significant factors. The main reason reported by the women for not performing amniocentesis or the triple test was for religious or moral grounds (53.3 and 67% respectively). The main reason given for not performing Tay-Sachs or fragile-X testing was that they were not referred for the tests (76 and 82% respectively). Consideration should be given to providing first trimester prenatal diagnosis to the ultrareligious group, including state subsidized fragile-X testing and educating the primary care givers about the importance of prenatal genetic testing. The information from the present study is vital for the planning of an equitable prenatal genetic service and provides guidelines for the implementation of such services in other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-422
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Volume120 A
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Amniocentesis
  • Factors
  • Fragile-X
  • Prenatal genetic testing
  • Religious
  • Tay-Sachs
  • Triple test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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