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Easier Prenatal Tests May Replace Invasive Amnio

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2009 7:50 PM CDT
Easier Prenatal Tests May Replace Invasive Amnio
Invasive amniocentesis may become a thing of the past.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Amniocentesis may become a thing of the past, as new procedures are developed that can non-invasively but definitively test for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, writes Amanda Schaffer for DoubleX. The procedures, expected to be available in the next few years, take advantage of a recent discovery: Early in pregnancy, DNA from the fetus enters the mother’s blood and can then be tested.

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"Why take a big needle to the belly if a little needle in the arm tells you everything you need to know about your fetus?" asks Schaffer. The first tests will likely be able to detect a narrow set of problems, including Down syndrome, but the science will gradually expand to cover a much wider scope. "All of this may relieve women of one source of prenatal anxiety—though it won’t make getting the results of genetic tests any less fraught." (Read more amniocentesis stories.)

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