A recent Huff Post article, authored by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, highlights three genetics tests to improve prenatal screening.
According to Myra Wick, M.D., Ph.D., Consultant in the Departments of Medical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Laboratory Genetics, and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, “It’s an exciting time in perinatal testing. DNA sequencing and molecular technology have improved and become more cost effective. These tests are important for family planning before pregnancy as well as planning for the care of a baby who is found to have a genetic disorder during pregnancy."
The article highlights Mayo Medical Laboratories' recently launched blood test to screen for the most common chromosome disorders diagnosed in pregnancy, such as Down syndrome. It’s known as a cell-free DNA test. It screens the mother’s blood that contains DNA from the baby, looking for genetic disorders in the fetus. The new test generally has a higher detection rate and fewer false positives than traditional screening tests.
“Prior to this new test, mothers had the option of traditional first trimester screening, which is a blood test and ultrasound, or second trimester screening, which is a blood test. In general, the cell free DNA blood test can be used in place of the traditional first and second trimester screening,” explains Dr. Wick. It is important to remember that the cell free DNA testing is a screening test, and abnormal results should be followed up with additional testing.