This paper examines women’s experiences with decision-making about non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). Such tests offer knowledge about chromosomal disorders early in pregnancy, without the risk of miscarriage associated with invasive procedures such as amniocentesis. Based on qualitative interviews with women in Germany who used, or declined, NIPT, we show how some women, who would not consider amniocentesis due to the risk of miscarriage, welcome the knowledge provided by, and the additional agency resulting from, NIPT. For others, declining the offer to “know more” becomes increasingly difficult to articulate. The absence of risk strips women of a “good reason” to justify their decision not to test, thus implicitly challenging their “right not to know.” Moreover, NIPT heightens moral dilemmas within relationships with partners, existing children, and sometimes other close relatives. While clinically “non-invasive,” we argue that NIPT changes decision-making in an ethically and socially highly significant way.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Center for Cultural Studies (ZKFL)