Choices made under reproductive uncertainty: acceptance or rejection of amniocentesis by women at genetic reproductive risk
A symbolic interactionist theoretical framework was used to identify factors that influence women to accept or reject amniocentesis. A sample of 199 acceptors and 50 rejectors of amniocentesis was recruited from pregnant females at genetic reproductive risk (due to advanced maternal age or hereditary genetic disorders) attending a genetic counseling clinic in a large midwestern university hospital. Thirteen of the nineteen variables measuring background characteristics of the respondents, influence and support of significant others, the women's perceptions of risks associated with the procedure, and their attitudes towards abortion were significantly related to the acceptance of amniocentesis at the bivariate level. However, when controlled for by other variables in the model, only two measures were found to be significantly related to the amniocentesis decision using multiple logistic regression analysis. Women who reported that their husbands thought they should undergo amniocentesis and who were willing to accept higher chances of complications with the procedure were significantly more likely to accept than reject amniocentesis. Multiple logistic regression analysis of a subsample of respondents (n = 148) who had been questioned about the opinion and support of their doctors regarding the amniocentesis decision showed that women whose husbands reportedly thought they should have the procedure, whose doctors gave them emotional support for their decision, and who were willing to accept higher chances of complications with the procedure were significantly more likely to accept amniocentesis. Implications and applications for these findings and suggestions for future research were discussed. In an epilogue, a sociology of medicine approach was adopted in which bioethical considerations related to the use of amniocentesis and differences in methods, theories, and perceptions between medical practitioners and sociologists were delineated.