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Safe and Accurate Down’s Syndrome Test Approved for Pregnant Women on NHS

Update Date: Jan 15, 2016 07:06 PM EST

A new form of blood test that identifies Down's Syndrome has not only been approved but also recommended for high-risk women on NHS, thus diminishing the complications and examinations. This non-invasive prenatal test is highly accurate and reduces the need for pregnant women to go through invasive amniocentesis that carries a 1% risk of miscarriage and a risk of serious infection for 1 in 1,000 women. The process takes about five days and can also detect other syndromes such as Patau's and Edwards', which occur if your cells carry an extra chromosome. People with down syndrome may have difficulty learning but babies born with Patau's or Edward's are either stillborn or die soon after they take birth. Women that are 10-14 weeks pregnant are offered a blood test as well as ultrasound to check for abnormalities in fetus, reported Independent

The examination takes the mother's blood, that has the fetus' DNA, to screen for any diseases. Studies claim 99% accuracy of the test in identifying Down's syndrome. A study involving 2,500 medium and high risk mothers at Great Ormond Street Hospital underwent the test and were showed that it is not only safe but also accurate. However, Dr. Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said that even though NIPT has been proven beyond doubt to be an accurate test but its real-life use still remains questionable. "We don't know how good the test is for other genetic conditions - Edwards' and Patau's syndromes - that are currently part of the programme, and the evidence review also found that up to 13 per cent of the NIPTs carried out didn't give any result at all." Tests will be made available across England to enable experts to modify the screening program if required, says BBC News

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