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An Economic Model of Amniocentesis Choice

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Author Info

  • Eduardo Fajnzylber
  • Seth Sanders
  • V. Joseph Hotz

Abstract

Medical practitioners typically utilize the following protocol when advising pregnant women about testing for the possibility of genetic disorders: Pregnant women over the age of 35 should be tested for Down syndrome and other genetic disorders; for younger women, such tests are discouraged since they can cause a miscarriage. The logic appears compelling. The rate at which amniocentesis causes a miscarriage is constant while genetic disorders rise over a woman’s reproductive years. Hence the potential benefit from testing – being able to terminate a fetus with a genetic disorder – rises with maternal age. We argue that this logic is incomplete. While the benefits to testing rise with age, so do the costs. While undergoing an amniocentesis always entails the risk of miscarriage of a healthy fetus, these costs are lower at early ages, because there is a higher probability of being able to replace a miscarried fetus with a healthy birth at a later age. We develop and calibrate a dynamic model of amniocentesis choice to explore this tradeoff. For parameters that characterize realistic age patterns of chromosomal abnormalities, fertility rates and miscarriages following amniocentesis, our model implies a falling, rather than rising, rate of amniocentesis as women approach menopause.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-66.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:10-66

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Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Amniocentesis; Pregnancy; Miscarriage; Family Planning; Life Cycle;

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. When should amniocentesis be performed?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-23 14:09:00
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Cited by:
  1. Price, Joseph & Price, Joshua & Simon, Kosali, 2011. "Educational gaps in medical care and health behavior: Evidence from US Natality data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 838-849, October.
  2. Le, Jérôme & Maurin, Eric & Garrouste, Clémentine, 2011. "The Choice of Detecting Down Syndrome: Does Money Matter?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12124, Paris Dauphine University.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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