The introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in healthcare systems around the world offers an opportunity to reconsider funding policies for prenatal screening. In some countries with universal access healthcare systems, pregnant women and their partners are asked to (co)pay for NIPT. In this paper, we discuss two important rationales for charging women for NIPT: (1) to prevent increased uptake of NIPT and (2) to promote informed choice. First, given the aim of prenatal screening (reproductive autonomy), high or low uptake rates are not intrinsically desirable or undesirable. Using funding policies to negatively affect uptake, however, is at odds with the aim of screening. Furthermore, copayment disproportionally affects those of lower socioeconomic status, which conflicts with justice requirements and impedes equal access to prenatal screening. Second, we argue that although payment models may influence pregnant women's choice behaviours and perceptions of the relevance of NIPT, the copayment requirement does not necessarily lead to better-informed choices. On the contrary, external (ie, financial) influences on women's personal choices for or against prenatal screening should ideally be avoided. To improve informed decision-making, healthcare systems should instead invest in adequate non-directive, value-focused pretest counselling. This paper concludes that requiring (substantial) copayments for NIPT in universal access healthcare systems fails to promote reproductive autonomy and is unfair.

Additional Metadata
Keywords equal access, funding policy, informed choice, non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), reproductive autonomy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2019-105675, hdl.handle.net/1765/119810
Journal Journal of Medical Ethics: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics
Citation
Bunnik, E.M, Kater-Kuipers, A. (Adriana), Galjaard, R-J.H, & de Beaufort, I.D. (2019). Should pregnant women be charged for non-invasive prenatal screening? Implications for reproductive autonomy and equal access. Journal of Medical Ethics: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics. doi:10.1136/medethics-2019-105675