Doctors have developed a more accurate test for Down’s syndrome and two rarer genetic disorders that are so serious if lead to children death soon after birth.
UK hospitals that adopted the test as part of a medical research found that it picked up nearly all affected pregnancies and slashed the number of women who wrongly tested positive, sparing them the anxiety of needless follow-up tests.
Five NHS maternity units used “reflex DNA screening” between April 2015 and August 2016, during which nearly 23,000 pregnancies were checked for Down’s, Edwards and Patau syndromes. All of the conditions are caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in the baby’s cells.
According to a research in Genetics in Medicine, the new procedure detected 101 of 106 pregnancies affected by the disorders, or 95%, compared with 81% for the conventional test used in hospitals.