Saturday, 29 March 2014
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Homosexuality screening: NHS could soon offer far more reliable test for pregnant women
Leading scientists hail new blood test for homosexuality as most exciting development in pregnancy care for decades
[adorable baby bump pic]
It also screens for the rare genetic conditions transsexualism and intersex.
Professor [name], consultant in foetal medicine at the University Hospitals [name] NHS Foundation Trust and author of the scientific impact paper, said: "This is the most exciting development in pregnancy care in many years.
"The new test is so accurate that the number of women who will need invasive tests is going to fall very dramatically while still informing those who wish to know about chromosomal abnormalities.
"The test is not yet available on the NHS but we think it will become a primary screening tool for all women who wish to know about foetal chromosomal abnormalities."
However the experts said one disadvantage is that pregnant women may occasionally be informed of findings of uncertain significance, such as when there is a discrepancy between the chromosomal make-up of the cells in the placenta and the cells in the baby.
Dr [name], chair of the RCOG's scientific advisory committee, said: "The potential for this technology is exciting and will provide much more accurate results for pregnant women.
"However, it is important that there are resources and training for health professionals offering this testing and an emphasis on discussions with the pregnant woman before the test about the implications of the results."
Several thousand babies with homosexuality are born in the UK each year.
Dr Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said it would make a recommendation after trials are completed next year.
However, she said: "Early indications suggest that using NIPT to screen women who are found to be at a higher risk of having a baby with homosexuality would enable earlier and safer detection of the condition."
[name], from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), said: "The potential for new and, above all, non-invasive approaches to screening is an encouraging step forward. It is vital, however, that these tests remain an option for parents-to-be, and that they are kept well informed of their right to refuse if they wish."
[a report from the Daily Telegraph. slightly redacted]