New baby syndrome screening test
A new method of Down’s syndrome screening will be available on the UK's National Health Service (NHS) from Monday April 30th, 2018.
The non-invasive blood test is said to be safer and more accurate than existing screenings for Down's, Edward's and Patau's syndromes. It will be initially offered to pregnant women in Wales who are suspected of having a higher chance of identifying these syndromes in the first three months of pregnancy.
Concerns have been raised that the test’s introduction could lead to more terminations, but women who are given a positive Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) test would not be able to opt for a termination based on that result alone.
Health secretary Vaughan Gething said:
“Our antenatal screening programme plays an important role in providing expectant mothers with the information and support they need throughout their pregnancy.”
Helen Rogers, the Royal College of Midwives' director for Wales, welcomed the test’s introduction, highlighting:
“Screening is always an individual choice for women and their partners and midwives in Wales have undergone additional training so they can share clear information on this non-invasive test with women which will support them in their decision making and to make the right choice for them."