Prenatal detection now more easier. A laboratory test which only requires a small sample of the mother’s blood has recently been developed to detect Down’s syndrome during pregnancy. A large study has now been published (New England Journal Medical 2015; doi:10.1056/nejmod 1407349), which analysed the blood from 15,841 pregnant women; 38 cases of Down’s syndrome were detected, compared to only 30 with the standard method. The number of false positives was also significantly lower than with the standard method, 0.06% vs. 5.4%. From an ethical point of view, we need to ask if this greater ease for detecting foetuses with Down’s syndrome will also make it easier to eliminate them.
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