Non-invasive Prenatal Testing Gaining Popularity With Patients and Doctors

Newer testing methods for expectant mothers allows doctors to get a look at fetal DNA without the invasive procedures that have been the norm in recent years. Called cell-free fetal testing, the relatively new method allows doctors to extract fetal DNA material from blood samples taken from expectant mothers. Cell-free fetal testing is an alternative to genetic tests like amniocentesis or chronic villus sampling which require a sample from within the womb which could, in rare cases, result in miscarriage.

Cell-free testing has risen in popularity dramatically resulting in a decrease in the number of other prenatal genetic test undertaken by pregnant women.

“Those of us in the field who do diagnostic procedures like CVS and amnio have seen a drastic decrease in the number of those procedures that are being performed. Places are reporting doing fewer than half the number of procedures that were being done previously,” says Dr. Mary Norton, an expert on maternal-fetal medicine and genetics at the University of California, San Francisco.

While the procedure is relatively new and not available everywhere, hospitals are offering cell-free testing more and more often. Despite the benefits of the cell-free fetal testing doctors are warning that the test is not as accurate as amniocentesis and can occasionally result in false predictions of high-risk pregnancies.

 

Read More – DNA Blood Test Gives Woman New Option For Prenatal Screening (NPR, Nell Greenfieldboyce)

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Originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland, Millan is a senior at the George Washington University studying Biological Anthropology.

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