Prenatal genetic testing is a double-edged sword for couples that choose to do it. On the one hand, it gives them vital information about the health of their progeny; on the other, the most conclusive tests can involve a cringe-worthy process of using a syringe to pull fluid out of the womb. So … actually it’s a double-edged sword for the mother. For guys, it’s more like a double edge letter opener. These tests can identify things like Down syndrome and spina bifida, but they carry risks of their own — including miscarriage. Fortunately, researchers may have found a better way.
The new DNA blood test, developed by researchers from Plymouth University and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, can not only handle the work of the old invasive tests; it’s also more accurate, less expensive, and reduces the number of necessary appointments for mothers-to-be. “Although fetal blood grouping and sexing using maternal blood has been done for over a decade, this research proves a much more accurate and sensitive method of detecting fetal DNA,” says lead study author, Professor Neil Avent, in the news release. “This offers great opportunities to detect other conditions using this technique, but is much cheaper than current non-invasive methods. The end is now in sight for the invasive techniques of amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.”
The new test is less invasive, more accurate, less expensive, and reduces the number of necessary appointments for mothers-to-be.
Plymouth’s study on the groundbreaking test was only released this week, so it may be a while before the new method is available nationwide, but its noninvasive nature could catapult approval and popularity sooner than later. It’s good news for expecting moms but also good news for expecting dads, who no longer have to hear the most unbeatable trump card of all: “Hey, remember when I let a 6-inch syringe plunge into my stomach to suck out a spoonful of our baby’s life fluid? Yeah, why don’t you make dinner tonight.”
( Via BabyCenter)