Safer Down Syndrome Prenatal Test Available Monday


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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