Background and objectives : Facial deformity is rated as least attractive of all deformities and orofacial cleft (OFC) is one such condition. Though comprehensive treatment for OFC is now available universally, an increased emphazis on cosmesis and prenatal diagnosis (PND) by ultrasonography has lead to evidence of elective termination of pregnancy. Since non syndromic OFC are non lethal birth defects, PND and subsequent termination of pregnancy is an important ethical issue. Availability of PND in the Indian subcontinent can offer reproductive choices to pregnant women who were unexposed to PND of OFC. This study was designed to assess the attitudes of mothers of children with OFC towards PND by ultrasonography of cleft and elective termination of pregnancy.
Methods : The study consisted of 60 subjects in two groups. Group I consisted of mothers of children with OFC without PND, Group II of mothers of cleft children with PND of cleft. All the subjects were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
Results : Only 2% of Group I subjects opined that they would have chosen the elective termination of pregnancy if foetus was diagnosed with cleft on ultrasonography. All subjects in Group II chose to continue their pregnancy being aware of PND of cleft fetus. In Group I, 96% would definitely avail ultrasonography to determine pregnancy with cleft in future as it would equip them with knowledge and awareness to address the special needs.
Conclusion : PND will definitely contribute towards increased awareness and knowledge regarding cleft conditions and associated special needs leading to better care for children with OFC. The attitude from both the groups regarding continuation of pregnancy when diagnosed with cleft foetus indicates the trend for incidence of live cleft birth that might remain at current levels if not increase.
Key words: prenatal diagnosis (PND); orofacial clefts (OFC); termination of pregnancy