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Fetal tissue transplantation and abortion decisions: a survey of urban women


, : Fetal tissue transplantation and abortion decisions: a survey of urban women. Cmaj 153(5): 545-552

Objective: To describe women's attitudes and predicted behaviour regarding the potential for fetal tissue transplantation (FTT) to influence abortion decisions. Design: Self-administered questionnaire survey by mail. Setting: Academic family practice in Toronto. Participants: Random sample of 475 women 18 to 40 years of age selected from the family practice registry of an urban teaching hospital. Family physicians were blind to their patients' participation, and investigators were blind to the subjects' identity. Forty questionnaires were undeliverable. Of the remaining 435, 272 (62.5%) were completed. Six of the women were over 40 years of age or did not indicate their age and were excluded, which left 266 (61.1%) questionnaires for analysis. Outcome measures: Number of women who would (a) be more likely to have an abortion if they could donate tissue for FTT and (b) feel better or worse about choosing abortion if FTT were an option, and open-ended comments about the potential for FTT to influence abortion decisions. Results: Of the 266 respondents 32 (12.0%) reported that they would be more likely to have an abortion if they could donate tissue for FTT, 178 (66.9%) stated that they would not be more likely to do so, and 56 (221.1%) were uncertain. Of the 122 who indicated that they would consider an abortion if they were pregnant, 21 (17.2%) stated that they would be more likely to have an abortion if they could donate tissue for FTT, 77 (63.1%) replied that they would not be more likely to do so, and 24 (19.7%) were uncertain. The women 25 to 33 years of age were more likely to be influenced by FTT than the younger or older women, and the women 18 to 24 years were more uncertain about the influence of FTT on abortion decisions than the older women. In written responses some of the women felt that FTT might make abortion decisions easier; many were troubled that FTT might be used to justify a morally problematic abortion decision and felt that FTT should not be used to justify abortion. Conclusion: The data, the first of their kind gathered from women, suggest that some women's abortion decisions may be influenced by the option to donate tissue for FTT. Further research is necessary to explore the mechanism of influence.

US$29.90

PMID: 7641152


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