An assessment of the general public's knowledge of fatal fetal anomalies

There is a lack of accurate knowledge on fatal fetal anomaly, its classification, diagnosis, survival, and supports available following a diagnosis of fatal fetal anomaly among the general public. This highlights the need for improved health information about fatal fetal anomaly.

Stacey Power Walsh, Sarah Meaney, Keelin O'Donoghue
Journal Name
Prenatal Diagnosis
Journal Article
Awareness / Knowledge, Fatal fetal anomaly, Termination of pregnancy
Experiences of pregnancy with major fetal anomalies
Full Citation
Power S, Meaney S, O'Donoghue K. An assessment of the general public's knowledge of fatal fetal anomalies. Prenatal Diagnosis. 2018;38:883-890.
Link to Publication


Following an electoral Referendum on May 25th 2018, the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the “the right to life of the unborn” was repealed, legislating for termination of pregnancy (TOP) for the first time in Ireland. TOP for fatal fetal anomaly (FFA) in particular was an influential piece in securing this result, as it was centrally positioned in the argument. This study aimed to evaluate the general population's knowledge of FFA. People were randomly contacted via the telephone and asked to participate in the survey. Eight hundred and fourteen people participated in the survey. Of which, only 30% could correctly define FFA. Almost half of the participants knew that medical intervention was needed for the aby to survive. Half did not know when perinatal palliative care could commence. A third of participants did not know that bereavement care was available following a TOP for FFA. This study identified the lack of knowledge among the general public. This is of concern as knowledge is needed to facilitate informed decision making following a FFA diagnosis. This study’s findings highlight the need for improved health information about FFA.

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,