Early Down’s Syndrome Test Developed

testExperts say a more precise Down’s syndrome test, which can be given earlier in pregnancy, has been developed.

Study on Fetal DNA

A study on 1,000 pregnant women discovered the test of fetal DNA in maternal blood could recognize if the baby is “almost certainly” affected or not affected by Down’s syndrome.

The King’s College London researchers behind the study said the test could help pregnant women decide if they needed further exams.

According to the Down’s Syndrome Association, the new test was not “imminent.”

In the UK, almost 750 babies are reported born with Down’s syndrome annually. An extra copy of chromosome 21, which happens by chance, causes the condition.

Early Pregnancy Diagnostic Tests

Pregnant women go through tests between weeks 11 and 13. They are advised to have an ultrasound, to measure a pocket of fluid at the back of the fetus’s neck known as the nuchal fold. Babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome are more likely to have more fluid than others.

Women also have to undergo a blood test to examine abnormal levels of certain proteins and hormones. Based on those results, women with higher estimated risk can have one of two invasive and potentially risky exams.