Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Sociology, MA

Committee Chair

Roelfs, David

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hognas, Robin

Committee Member

Hognas, Robin

Committee Member

Christopher, Karen

Author's Keywords

down syndrome; prenatal genetic screening; selective termination; abortion; parents; NIPT


Recent advancements in the field of genetic testing have made it easier to prenatally identify the presence of Down Syndrome in a fetus. The purpose of this study was to examine the opinions of parents who are currently raising a child with Down Syndrome towards genetic screening and selective abortion for the condition, as well as any potential effects of this process on their families. A series of individual interviews with twenty parents was conducted. An inductive methodology was used to analyze interview data. The key findings indicate that parents’ perspectives of the role of the physician in the genetic screening process, as well as their perceptions of threat to their children and families, each ranged from neutral to extremely negative. There was an association between these two perceptions. Parent advocates are engaged in a power struggle with physicians over influence on expectant parents at the time of fetal diagnosis.