OBJECTIVES: Families affected by Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) have opportunities to learn recurrence risks to their children from statistical genetic and empiric studies and, in some cases, prenatal genetic testing or preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This study aimed to assess interest in reproductive genetic information for HSCR and factors that predict this interest in 2 groups with elevated risk of having a child with HSCR.
METHODS: Adult patients with HSCR and parents of children with HSCR were surveyed about their interest in learning reproductive genetic information regarding HSCR through genetic counseling, prenatal testing, and PGD. Covariates assessed in this cross-sectional study included quality of life, illness perceptions, depressive symptoms, and adaptation to the condition. Bivariate analyses assessed differences between affected adults and parents. Logistic modeling was used to identify predictors of interest in reproductive genetic information.
RESULTS: Study participants (n = 368) reported high interest in reproductive genetic information through genetic counseling (yes = 60%/unsure = 16%), prenatal testing (yes = 59%/unsure = 16%), and PGD (yes = 43%/unsure = 18%). Illness perceptions differed between affected adults and parents, but perceived severity of HSCR was high among all participants (μ = 3.42, SD = 0.67, 4-point scale). Interest in reproductive information was associated with being an affected adult, not having a family history of HSCR, negative emotional representations, and adaptation to the condition.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study support a desire among the surveyed HSCR patient groups to attend genetic counseling and be offered testing when available. Exploration of perceptions and experiences with the condition should be incorporated into the counseling to insure informed preference-based decision making.