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Safer Down Syndrome Prenatal Test Available Monday

By Lauren Jimeson |

At 12 weeks pregnant my doctor insisted I go in for the Nuchal translucency screening test, a prenatal test that assesses your baby’s risk of having Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.  I wasn’t offered this test for my first pregnancy, and I honestly didn’t think that I would be asked to have it for this one either. {I thought I was young enough to not need it.}

When I asked my OB the reason for the test, she told me that it was routine for them to test all women, regardless of age.  Unaware of what exactly the test involved she assured me that it was low risk, and although not a diagnostic test, has a good rate of identifying my baby’s risk for chromosomal abnormalities.

Prior to scheduling the tests I went home and searched the internet on the test.  All of the  search results came back with the mention of the “false positive,” which identifies your baby’s risk as high, when the baby is fine.  Further testing would be required and most likely an amniocentesis (an invasive test with slight risk for miscarriage) would be done.  

On Monday, the first non-invasive, prenatal blood test for Down syndrome, will become available for pregnant mothers.  The blood test measures the fetal DNA from the mother’s bloodstream and can be detected as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy. The test is said to be 98.6% accurate with results taking up to 10 days.

According to the LA Times, the test will be available in 20 metropolitan cities across the United States, and with insurance, will cost the patient no more than $235.

My Nuchal test came back negative and thankfully I didn’t have to run through the options of what other tests were needed.  Although the idea of these tests make me extremely nervous, if given the choice between the Nuchal test and this new test, I would definitely opt for the new one.

Will you ask your doctor for this test?




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About Lauren Jimeson


Lauren Jimeson

Lauren Jimeson is the author of A Mommy in the City, which chronicles living the city life with a suburban mentality. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lauren's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “Safer Down Syndrome Prenatal Test Available Monday

  1. Polish Mama on the Prairie says:

    Makes me wonder. I was on state insurance and not given any tests for that except on the ultrasound measuring the spinal cord fluid for Down’s Syndrome. I’ve never heard of any “lower” income women having such tests done.

  2. Kate says:

    I would love to ask for it, but until my insurance company will pay for it I don’t think that I would.

  3. Nadia says:

    I agree with a previous comment poster: if my insurance will pay for it, I will definitely take it! Without insurance, though…it is too pricey. I was just fine with the old test, and the results don’t matter to me that much anyways.

  4. Char Meese says:

    Some people will not have test because, they say “I wouldn’t do anything anyway” But, please have your test done, all the test. Many things can be detected and if you know what’s going on not only are you prepared for whatever is going to be, but if you have a child with a spinal birth defect, delivery by c-section is often better for the success of the baby. But the most important word to pass out is Every Woman of Child Baring Age Should Take a Multi Vitamin every DAY. 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned and the vitamins are needed during the first 2 weeks of development. Way before most women know they are PG.

  5. Anne says:

    My midwife already offered me this blood test and I had it done at my last appointment 10/6! I accepted it since it was just a simple blood test! And it is covered as part of my pre-natal care package with the midwife group/insurance!

  6. Loralee says:

    I would do it in a heartbeat! My third baby was born with a chromosome disorder (trisomy 18). Knowing beforehand would not have stopped me from going fullterm with her, but I would have been better prepared to lose her shortly after she was born. Expecting to bring home a healthy baby and coming home empty handed to a cute nursery you worked hard on is not my idea of fun! Am 8 wks pregnant now and wish it was available in my area.

  7. Tammy M. says:

    Heck no. We did the NT test…but that’s because it was another look at our baby. We didn’t care either way if the baby had a “disorder”. We’re prepared simply because I am “advanced” in age (37). My hubby and I discussed the possibilities of DS as well as other issues, and decided no matter what we would keep the baby. My daughter turned out fine (born when I was 36) and whatever happens with this baby (due in March), we’re confident we can handle it. It may be tough…but I think those tests add undue stress as well as cause some parents-to-be to terminate out of fear. False positives are a real thing.

  8. Sanriobaby =^.^= says:

    I would do it in a heartbeat if my insurance covered this new test. I already did the traditional NT scan, and thankfully, everything was fine, but I had a few friends who’ve had quite a scare when thier inital tests came back w/a false positive. I think that this new type of testing would be great, espcially if it can reduce the number of false positives.

  9. karen lawson says:

    With my first baby I came back as “high risk” when the blood test was taken. I got told I had a 1/11 chance of a baby with DS. The scan fluid etc looked absolutely fine so I came home and researched Blood testing and found out that it’s the most inaccurate medical testing there is. I called back the clinic and asked if I could have my blood taken again on another day to see if the results were indeed the same. I was happy to pay for this. They said no. They tried to push my into have the needle and I asked the risks involved and the doctor told me it was 1/100 chance of losing the baby. You can imagine what I told him to do with his needle! Needless to say my baby is perfectly normal. Two other woman that my midwife delivered were “high risk” too and both babies were absolutely fine. I would be weighing up your odds…. imagine having the needle, losing your baby and finding out afterwards that it was absolutely fine. Now that would be completely heart breaking… :(

  10. BioPHD says:

    Everyone should have the NT because you pick up on things besides downs. I was given a 50/50 chance of downs at the NT, with downs being the BETTER outcome on that ratio, and when I had the CVS, it showed complete monosomy 21, a fatal condition. First trimester screening is important. It is always better to find out sooner rather than later so that you have choices or so you can prepare. I’d rather chance a false positive than risk a ‘false negative’ of oblivion. By the way, I was 31 and told the test was very optional because I was young. Thank god I decided to do it anyway. I feel that it should be standard, because there is always the opportunity to opt out.

  11. Ruth Cooper says:

    I had this as part of the routine testing when I went for my dating scan at 12 weeks (I’m in Scotland). It was the scan plus blood test.
    I was happy to have this, plus any other blood tests that they reccomended for me.
    It was no problem and non-invasive so thought why not?

  12. Susan says:

    I do believe that these tests help parents be prepared when they DO give birth to a baby with a DNA abnormality. Knowing you may only have a few minutes with your newborn allows family to be there with you & for you. It would be far worse to be unaware and go home empty handed to a nursery full of baby items like another poster stated above. Even a false positive is worth it if you know what the possibilities are. Additionally, the doctors can then be ready if the baby SHOULD need an immediate intervention that maybe they wouldn’t have been looking for. I know that sounds odd but think about how many women are giving birth at home ~ if they KNEW their baby was going to need extra care, they would be prepared and NOT give birth at home. By the time they could get to a hospital, it could be too late. I feel ANY pre-warnings are great…but I am also a medical professional and have seen enough things that CAN go wrong!

    Just do what you feel is best for your baby, I guess, but my best advice would be to do any testing that is non-invasive and any invasive procedure do if medically necessary depending on your individual circumstance.

  13. sandi says:

    “My Nuchal test came back negative” the results of these screening tests are not a negative or positive – they are indicative of a trisomy. Amnio and CVS can be said to be negative or positive for trisomies.

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