As one of the new reproductive technologies, amniocentesis is rapidly becoming routinized, especially for pregnant women in their mid-thirties and older. Prenatal diagnosis has been evaluated medically, economically, and bioethically. But we know very little about how pregnant women and their families who use, or might use, this new technology respond to its benefits and burdens. This article reports on a two-year field study in New York City. Responses of genetic counselors, a multicultural patient population using and refusing amniocentesis, women who had received “positive diagnoses, and families with children who have the conditions that can now be diagnosed prenatally were all elicited through participant-observation. My goal in this study is to assess the social impact and cultural meaning of one new reproductive technology.
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