New Down's Syndrome test approved

A new non-invasive Down’s Syndrome test has been approved and could reduce the number of miscarriages as a result of amniocentesis

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Currently, at risk mums-to-be are offered an amniocentesis test, where a needle is inserted into the womb to extract amniotic fluid.

However, this invasive test leads to about one in 100 women losing their babies, approximately 350 babies each year, some of which would have been born healthy.

These invasive procedures and miscarriages could now be prevented by the introduction of this new test on the NHS, rather than have to opt for it privately.

Taking into account the combined factors of an ultrasound scan, medical history, family history and a woman’s age, women considered at risk will be offered a non-invasive blood test instead that has been approved by the National Screening Committee.

The test will screen for whether a mum-to-be’s blood contains any trace of the extra chromosome which causes the genetic condition Down’s Syndrome, making it the most accurate and safest way of detecting abnormalities during pregnancy.

The amniocentesis test will then be recommended if the test comes back positive.

The results of the test can be turned around in five days and the test is hoped to be rolled out gradually.

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