A new test by The King’s College London team can determine with 99% certainty whether a baby carries a gene associated with Down syndrome.
In pregnancies today, women are offered a Down syndrome test as early as 11-13 weeks of pregnancy. The current test looks at the amount of fluid on the back of a babies neck, a blood test, and then gives an estimation of that child’s risk for developing Down syndrome. Further testing can be done, but it carries a 1 in 100 chance of miscarriage.
“The DSA considers it far more important at this point to focus on providing relevant, accurate and up-to-date information about [Down] syndrome, delivered by midwives and associated health professionals, who have received our targeted training prior to any screening test.” – Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association
According to a study of the test, “The test shows there is either more than a 99% chance, or less than one in 10,000 that their baby has [Down] syndrome.” – BBC. This allows women to make decisions sooner and with significantly more accurate information.
The test itself uses the fetal DNA in the maternal blood to make this choice as accurate as it’s proving to be. While there are no immediate plans to use this method worldwide, the hope is that the regular testing will stay available for all women while this test will become an option for women who carry a high risk of having a child with Down syndrome.
We didn’t get such testing during our pregnancies because of the risk the current test carries for false-positives and miscarriage with further testing. To us, a 100-something chance was not worth the amount of stress we’d undergo during the process.
However, this option may be beneficial to families because it would give them more time to plan for a baby with Down syndrome and to educate themselves on the condition.
Would you choose to have this test done as early as it is? If you’ve turned it down before because of the risks, would this change your mind?
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Diana blogs on raising a toddler daughter, the loss of her twin boys, and a baby boy on the way on the aptly named Hormonal Imbalances. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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