What is prenatal genetic testing?
Prenatal genetic testing can determine if a fetus has an inherited disease or medical condition. Most commonly genetic testing is screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
Why is prenatal genetic testing done?
Prenatal genetic testing is done to detect inherited disorders that may have been passed on to your baby. The goal of prenatal genetic testing is to determine if there are problems with the baby before your delivery. If you are concerned about your baby’s health, discuss the risks and benefits of prenatal genetic testing with your obstetrician. Certain types of prenatal genetic testing can also determine the baby’s gender.
How is prenatal genetic testing done?
Prenatal genetic testing is done by blood tests and sometimes an obstetric ultrasound. These tests are non-invasive and cause no risk to you or your baby. If warranted, further testing such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis can provide more detailed information.
What can prenatal genetic testing tell me?
With blood tests, prenatal genetic testing can reveal the possibility of Down syndrome, other chromosomal conditions, Edwards syndrome or spina bifida. The sex of the baby can also be determined with genetic testing.
Are there concerns with prenatal genetic testing?
Prenatal genetic testing that is more invasive such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis have a slight risk of pregnancy loss associated with them.
Prenatal genetic testing is not always conclusive and you need to be comfortable knowing that you might not know for sure until your baby is born.
Before considering prenatal genetic testing you need to decide if you would want the additional more invasive testing as well as how you would handle a positive diagnosis for a genetic disorder. Always discuss your options with your obstetrician.