Moir Medical Sunshine Coast | 5444 0799 | Oxford Close, Buderim As the average age when women become mothers steadily increases, the risks of abnormalities during the pregnancy also goes up. But advances in technology have delivered some good news with a new, non-invasive test that can answer with more accuracy one of the big questions for older mothers-to-be: will my child be born with Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in pregnancy.”
Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in pregnancy. It happens in one in every 400 pregnancies and is the result of the child having an extra chromosome. There is no cure. It results in a moderate to severe intellectual impairment and an increased risk of physical abnormalities involving the heart or digestive system. The risk increases substantially with the mother’s age. For example, a 30-year old has a one in 890 chance of having a baby born with Down syndrome; for a 35-year old mother the risk increases to one in 355; by the age of 40 her chances have gone up to one in 90; and by age 45, the risk is one in 25.
As you can see, the risk of a Down syndrome can be a significant concern for women having a child at an older age. But now a new prenatal test is available for this higher risk category. With a simple blood test, the laboratory can extract the baby’s genetic material from the mother’s blood and check for Down syndrome. This test has distinct advantages over other options. Firstly, it can be carried out earlier, from 10 weeks onwards. Secondly, it provides a greater level of certainty than the traditional Combined First Trimester screening, which misses five to 10 per cent of Down syndrome cases. Thirdly, this procedure is non-invasive. So, this new test, available under a variety of trademarked names, gives women in the higher risk category very accurate information at an earlier point in their pregnancy, with no chance of the testing procedure itself creating problems. The only downside is expense – around $1,000. However with Down syndrome being one of the major fears of older parents-to-be, this advance in testing can provide enormous peace-of-mind.
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