For women who’ve struggled to become pregnant it’s probably even more common to experience worry about their baby’s health once they finally find themselves expecting. A variety of prenatal tests can give vital information about a fetus’ health, but for years the best way to determine whether a woman is carrying a child with Down syndrome has been amniocentesis, an invasive test that can – though very rarely when done by an experienced physician – lead to a miscarriage.
A new test may change that: Medicalnewstoday.com reported late last year about a couple of companies that have created a blood test – no more big, scary needles needed for an amnio – that can detect Down syndrome at around the eighth to 12th weeks of pregnancy. An amniocentesis is usually done around the 15th to 18th weeks of pregnancy.
Last October, Bloomberg.com reported that Sequenom, one of the makers of the blood test, would start selling the test in 20 U.S. cities. The business site quoted a release from the company that “the blood test is accurate in detecting Trisomy 21, the genetic chromosomal abnormality that most commonly causes Down syndrome, 99.1 percent of the time as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy.”
Another company, Verinata Health, also has a prenatal blood test that finds genetic abnormalities, reports Medicalnewstoday.com.
For more information about Down Syndrome, visit the National Down Syndrome Society site.