Blood Tests Can Predict Disorders in the Fetus

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pregnancy check upDuring pregnancy, prospective parents often ask about the health conditions and disorders that may be suffered by the fetus. A recent study found that blood tests during pregnancy can predict the risk of disorder in the fetus.

With a little maternal blood samples, researchers can collect the entire genetic code of the baby and look for DNA that indicate disorders like down syndrome and autism. This technique is believed can reduce the risk of miscarriage associated invasive test commonly used in medical world today.

This new technique, which was published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, will allow the mother’s blood to see the baby’s condition from the DNA in it. From this sample, researchers are able to predict the likelihood of disease which the fetus would suffer.

Currently, pregnant women who are at high risk of having a baby with Down syndrome are detected through two procedures, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. Both involve a needle inserted into the uterus which increases the risk of miscarriage.

Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch England said, “There are advantages in the special tests, making it safe for the fetus. But there is a danger also that the predictions can be misleading. So, it should be used more carefully”

Because it is relatively new, this test is still expensive at £ 125,000. However, the it is expected to decline as more invention become more affordable. Study leader, Dr. Dennis Lo, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said, “The power of the latest technology today is that by one test you can see the entire genome of the fetus,” he said according to Daily Mail.

However, this tests that gets easier also raises other concerns. Because the risk of other serious illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease can be known even before the baby is born.

“We will only provide counseling about genetic disorders in general in certain populations,” Wallace said.

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