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New Blood Test Shows Promise in Genetic Testing for Expectant Mothers


For pregnant women, prenatal care is of the utmost importance. Routine ultrasounds, blood pressure checks, and other tests occur regularly during pregnancy, and typically continue as the child grows. While not all women opt for genetic testing, many do. The most common type is amniocentesis, wherein the doctor extracts cells from the womb via a needle.

For women who desire answers but do not want the risk, a new DNA test on the market is a warm welcome. The test analyzes a pregnant woman’s blood for bits of fetal DNA that may have entered the woman’s bloodstream. While not as accurate as amniocentesis, the test does give a pretty clear picture of any genetic risks the fetus may have. If a woman wants a clear diagnosis, she will need the more invasive procedure.

Since the simple blood test is so new, many women are not aware of it. For the most part, doctors only suggest genetic testing if the pregnancy is considered high-risk. This is especially true for women over the age of 35 who are pregnant. Doctors however are also not as familiar with the new DNA test, as it has only been out since 2011. In addition, the FDA does not regular tests like these, so it is not officially approved by the federal government.

Some doctors are concerned about the new tests because the companies that manufacturer them may be making false promises. As mentioned earlier, the blood tests do not diagnosis any chromosomal defects; they simply detect risks. In addition, some companies make the promise that women can find out the sex of their child months earlier than traditional ultrasound. Doctors claim that these tests can have false results, as many fetuses have extra X or Y chromosomes and it does not necessarily determine gender accuracy.

More testing will be done on the blood sample test before it becomes popular among physicians and expectant mothers. Many that are unfamiliar with the test require a broader understanding of what the test does and does not do, and company representatives may not do the trick. Scientific results will be the true way that doctors will accept the test as a viable option. Women looking for a non-invasive way to check their fetus for issues will be glad when this time comes.

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