Developments to prenatal testing made in Europe have led to a new test that can detect the presence of genetic foetal abnormalities far earlier than was previously possible.
The new teat is called PrenaTest, and it can detect genetic abnormalities where there is an extra chromosome, which can lead to diseases such as Down’s syndrome and Edwards syndrome. The test uses a small sample of the mother’s blood, which makes it safer than previous invasive tests that were carried out on the amniotic fluid. Of the 808 tests carried out during trials so far, 99.8 per cent were able to correctly diagnose whether there was a genetic abnormality due to an extra chromosome in the foetal DNA.
The developers of this test, Lifecodexx, recommend that mothers at high risk of a trisomy (extra chromosome) should have this test around the time of their first ultrasound, at about 12 weeks of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists supports the use of this type of non-invasive testing and recommends that all pregnant women, whatever their age or risk, are offered the option of getting tested with the exception of multiple pregnancies, where the technology is not yet proven.
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