Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blood Test Detects Down Syndrome

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- A new blood test for pregnant women that can reliably detect Down syndrome in a fetus has raised concerns about the ethical implications of making that information safer and easier to obtain.
The test is more accurate than the blood and ultrasound screenings currently used to gauge the chance that a baby will be born with the syndrome. And it's safer than invasive tests of the amniotic fluid that carry a small risk of miscarriage.
But families and advocates worry that if the blood test becomes widely used, fewer children with Down syndrome will be born. Studies have shown that as many as nine out of 10 pregnancies with a Down syndrome diagnosis end in abortion, although doctors in St. Louis believe the figures here are significantly lower.

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