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Original research
Changing the standardised obstetric care by expanded carrier screening and counselling: a multicentre prospective cohort study

Abstract

Background Expanded genetic screening before conception or during prenatal care can provide a more comprehensive evaluation of heritable fetal diseases. This study aimed to provide a large cohort to evaluate the significance of expanded carrier screening and to consolidate the role of expanded genetic screening in prenatal care.

Methods This multicentre, retrospective cohort study was conducted between 31 December 2019 and 21 July 2022. A screening panel containing 302 genes and next-generation sequencing were used for the evaluation. The patients were referred from obstetric clinics, infertility centres and medical centres. Genetic counsellors conducted consultation for at least 15 min before and after screening.

Results A total of 1587 patients were screened, and 653 pairs were identified. Among the couples who underwent the screening, 62 (9.49%) had pathogenic variants detected on the same genes. In total, 212 pathogenic genes were identified in this study. A total of 1173 participants carried at least one mutated gene, with a positive screening rate of 73.91%. Among the pathogenic variants that were screened, the gene encoding gap junction beta-2 (GJB2) exhibited the highest prevalence, amounting to 19.85%.

Conclusion Next-generation sequencing carrier screening provided additional information that may alter prenatal obstetric care by 9.49%. Pan-ethnic genetic screening and counselling should be suggested for couples of fertile age.

  • Genetic Testing
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic Counselling

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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