An Economic Model of Amniocentesis Choice
AbstractMedical 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 InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16306.
Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-09-03 (All new papers)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- When should amniocentesis be performed?
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-09-23 14:09:00
- 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.
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