Health professionals' and researchers' perspectives on prenatal whole genome and exome sequencing: 'We can't shut the door now, the genie's out, we need to refine it'.
Horn R., Parker M.
The Prenatal Assessment of Genome and Exomes (PAGE) project is a UK-wide study aiming to gain a better understanding of genetic variants causing developmental problems during pregnancy. A further aim of the study is to provide an evidence-base for the introduction of prenatal whole genome and exome sequencing (PWGES) into prenatal diagnostics provided by the NHS, which is expected in 2018. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative interview study undertaken with 20 health professionals and researchers involved in the PAGE project, and explores their implications for understandings of 'good practice' in the uses of prenatal genomics clinically. A number of critical issues are identified that will need to be addressed in the development of a model of good ethical practice for prenatal genomics: consent, management of expectations, return of results, and professional duties in the context of PWGES. The analysis presented identifies and illustrates a great deal of complexity and qualitative richness in these issues as they arise in the day-to-day work of genomics professionals. Inclusive, critical discussion of these findings, together with the findings from other empirical studies, normative analysis and scientific discoveries resulting from PAGE, will be required to inform the development of appropriate guidelines of good ethical practice that address the needs and concerns to be encountered in daily clinical practice.