BACKGROUND: PGD is nowadays a well-established alternative to prenatal diagnosis. However, information with respect to couples' motives and profiles for choosing PGD is scarce. METHODS: A prospective cohort of 264 couples referred for PGD was interviewed semi-structurally after intake, and follow-up data were collated after 6-8 years. Outcome measures were: the primary choice shortly after intake (PGD intention), and their definitive use, until maximum 8 years later (PGD use). Logistic regression analysis was performed with clinical impact of the genetic disorder, couples' experiences, obstetric history and psychosocial factors as putative predictors. RESULTS: About 53.4% of the couples showed PGD intention. The experience of one or more miscarriages, the loss of an affected child and the absence of (acceptable) alternatives for the female partner positively contributed to PGD intention. For PGD use (45.8% of couples), infertility, a history of pregnancy termination(s) and the absence of alternatives according to the female partner were positive determinants. A living affected child reduced PGD use. Mode of inheritance and clinical impact of the disorder did not contribute. CONCLUSIONS: Fewer than 50% of the referred couples actually started PGD treatment. Personal experiences and reproductive history [the presence of a living affected child, infertility or a history of termination of pregnancy (TOP)] were more important determinants of eventual PGD use than the mode of inheritance or the expected clinical impact of the disorder.