Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Answers
Prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21) for the unborn baby requires an invasive test. This takes the form of an amniocentesis where fluid is taken from around the fetus in the womb after 14 weeks of gestation. A fine needle through the abdomen is used. The alternative, available about 3 weeks earlier is CVS where a tiny piece of the afterbirth (placenta) is extracted. Until now.
Implication of this development
This is potentially quite a major advance. Its strength lies in the fact that it does away with an invasive procedure therefore eliminating in a stroke the spectre of miscarriage that hangs over the currently used procedures. This risk is indeed small but quite real and when it occurs, is devastating.
However, it is important to stress that this is only an early stage of this potential breakthrough. Here are the facts:
Science research thrives on this kind of challenge and there is a lot of excitement
in the medical research world about this potential breakthrough.
In fact, this research work by Ravgen Inc. in the United States is not the only current development in this area. Researchers in Hong Kong are also reportedly on the verge of a similar breakthrough but employing a different method which utilises placental DNA in maternal circulation.
These methods might usher in a new era of safe and effective prenatal diagnostic tests. If the hurdles are overcome, the rough estimate is that the tests may be available for use in about three years.
News of more recent development in this sphere can be found here:
Last update: March 17, 2011