Author: L. Zahed
We have interviewed 83 couples at risk for a haemoglobin disorder, mostly â-thalassaemia, in an effort to evaluate
their attitude towards first-trimester prenatal diagnosis. Most of the families had received poor education and were
of low socio-economic status and more than half of the couples were not properly aware of their genetic risk.
Fifty-nine per cent of the couples were definitely in favour of prenatal diagnosis, 23 per cent were uncertain at the
time of the interview, and 18 per cent were opposed to such testing, because of their religious conviction against
termination of a pregnancy. Another important factor which seems to influence choice was the cost of the test.
Essential issues that arise from this study include the importance of a control programme adapted to particular
populations, proper information and counselling, and the need for financial support in countries such as Lebanon