Down Syndrome Test Raises Questions For Future Moms

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Pregnant woman's belly
(Bianca de Blok/Flickr)

For pregnant women who want to know whether their baby might be born with Down syndrome, there have not been many options. Pregnant women can get what is called a CVS test or an amniocenteses — but both must be administered later in the pregnancy, and both come with the risk of miscarriage.

Only 2 percent of mothers choose to take these invasive tests for Down syndrome. But now researchers say a simple blood test will give parents almost perfect accuracy early in the pregnancy, without the risks associated with existing tests.

The new blood test is not yet available but is raising questions about whether all expectant mothers should be offered genetic tests like these — and how these tests should be regulated.


  • Dr. Brian Skotko, clinical genetics fellow, Down Syndrome program, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Maureen Gallagher, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
  • Wendy Mariner, professor of health law, Boston University School of Public Health


This segment aired on January 31, 2011.


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