Prenatal Genetic Screening
the pros and cons
What is Prenatal Gentic Screening?
Pros of Prenatal Genetic Screening
Approximately 85 out of every 100 babies affected by the abnormalities addressed by the screen will be identified.
Approximately 5% of all normal pregnancies will receive a positive result or an abnormal level.
A positive test means you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance of experiencing one of the abnormalities.
Pursue potential interventions that may exist (fetal surgery for spina bifida)
Begin planning for a child with special needs
Start addressing anticipated lifestyle changes
Identify support groups and resources
Make a decision about carrying the child to term
Cons of Prenatal Genetic Screening
Whether or not a woman decides to undergo genetic screening is her own choice, as positive results could produce anxiety and conflicting emotions. Those against genetic testing feel that the biggest disadvantage of prenatal testing is the tremendous psychological pressure imposed on the parents. They are in a constant anxiety about the possible results. They tend to get confused about the condition as in the case where a baby is known to carry a mutation, but sometimes the parents may not realize that this does not mean that the baby will contract the genetic disorder too. This point also questions the accuracy of the results. Prenatal testing is very expensive and thereby cannot be attempted by people with meager means. Further only a handful of insurance companies are ready to cover the expenses of these tests. This leaves couples with limited or no choice at all.
Prenatal screening tests do not guarantee a normal pregnancy or baby. Birth defects can happen at any point during the pregnancy, so the test may not show the disease. Birth defects occur in 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States. 5-20% of results will be wrong. Results will not be available for 15-22 weeks after second blood draw, so mothers may be anxious for results. Even a low-risk assessment still could mean a low risk of abnormalities.The test carries a small risk of losing the baby because of the sample of fluid around the fetus. So while this test can be helpful, there are to many risks to be concerned about.