Recognising Complexity And Contradiction: Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis
Deborah Payne, RN, PhD, MCNA(NZ), Senior Lecturer, Division of Health Care Practice, Faculty of Health, Auckland University of Technology
Reference: Payne, D. (2004). Recognising complexity and contradiction: Prenatal genetic diagnosis. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 20(3), 13-20.
Twenty women, who had experienced pregnancy and birth when aged 35 or over, were interviewed in relation to prenatal genetic testing. Foucauldian discourse analysis of the interview texts revealed a particular subjectivity for the woman or the baby with chromosomal anomaly, and that these subjectivities were often competing and contradictory. Attention is drawn to the relevance of such information for nurses who increasingly are dealing with clients for whom diagnosis or treatment, using genetic technology, plays a part.
Maternal age, prenatal genetic diagnosis, discourse, subjectivity
Genetic testing has the potential to change the way in which certain conditions are prevented or treated. Prenatal genetic diagnosis is one form of genetic surveillance whereby the diagnosis of genetic ‘abnormalities’ in the foetus is possible (Reid, 1990). Technological advances mean that some pregnant women now have to decide whether to submit their unborn child to genetic testing. The present study, using discourse analysis, was undertaken to further understandings of how women come to make these decisions. An additional purpose was to generate information which would assist nurses to be maximally effective when interacting with clients involved in such situations. continued