A systematic analysis of online marketing materials used by providers of expanded carrier screening.

Research paper by Davit D Chokoshvili, Pascal P Borry, Danya F DF Vears

Indexed on: 15 Dec '17Published on: 15 Dec '17Published in: Genetics in Medicine


PurposeExpanded carrier screening (ECS) for a large number of recessive disorders is available to prospective parents through commercial providers. This study aimed to analyze the content of marketing materials on ECS providers' websites.MethodsTo identify providers of ECS tests, we undertook a comprehensive online search, reviewed recent academic literature on commercial carrier screening, and consulted with colleagues familiar with the current ECS landscape. The identified websites were archived in April 2017, and inductive content analysis was performed on website text, brochures and educational materials, and video transcripts.ResultsWe identified 18 ECS providers, including 16 commercial genetic testing companies. Providers typically described ECS as an important family planning tool. The content differed in both the tone used to promote ECS and the accuracy and completeness of the test information provided. We found that most providers offered complimentary genetic counseling to their consumers, although this was often optional, limited to the posttest context, and, in some cases, appeared to be available only to test-positive individuals.ConclusionThe quality of ECS providers' websites could be improved by offering more complete and accurate information about ECS and their tests. Providers should also ensure that all carrier couples receive posttest genetic counseling to inform their subsequent reproductive decision making.Genet Med advance online publication, 14 December 2017; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.222.