Yerong Li, Lulu Wang, Jianxin Tan, Mingtao Huang, Yuguo Wang, Binbin Shao, Juan Lv, Jingjing Zhang
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive and often fatal neurological disease. However, very little is known about the attitudes toward SMA carrier screening among Chinese pregnant people. In this study, pregnant women in Eastern China who were undergoing routine chromosomal screening programs were invited to view an educational video about SMA and complete a 26-item survey regarding their attitudes toward SMA screening by scanning a specific quick response code. A total of 1673 questionnaires were collected, and 81.1% of respondents were willing to undergo self-funded screening. If the screening program were included in the medical insurance, 97.8% of respondents were willing to accept screening. The important reasons for supporting SMA screening were a belief that it could help them make better reproductive decisions and avoid having a child with SMA. The key reason for declining SMA screening was not having a family history of genetic diseases. A higher score for SMA genetics knowledge was associated with a greater willingness to undergo SMA screening. We concluded that pregnant women in Eastern China had positive attitudes toward SMA carrier screening. Improving genetic knowledge and including the screening program in medical insurance would support the widespread implementation of SMA carrier screening. Steps should be taken to offer SMA carrier screening along with pre- and posttest education and genetic counseling to raise awareness and reduce misconceptions regarding SMA.
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