Little is known about the reproductive decision-making process of couples with an increased risk of having a child with retinoblastoma (Rb). A qualitative study was conducted to explore the impact of prospective risk on reproductive decisions, factors influencing these decisions, and the needs of couples with regard to reproductive counselling. Fourteen couples of childbearing age who received genetic counselling between 2002 and 2006 participated in semi-structured interviews in 2008. The risk of having a child with Rb ranged from less than 1% to 50%. In most cases, the diagnosis of Rb influenced subsequent family planning. Prenatal diagnosis was used by two couples, while others refrained from having more children. Reproductive decisions were influenced by the burden of the disease for the patient and family members, the impact of ophthalmological screening under anaesthesia, and couples' perceived risk, which did not always relate to their actual risk. Reproductive choices with regard to the number of children wanted changed over time. Our findings indicate topics to be discussed during genetic counselling of couples at increased risk for a child with Rb. We suggest continued access to genetic counselling also after the initial diagnosis and treatment.
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