Radio Shows | A New Downs Syndrome Diagnostic | mp3 … wma … wav
As more women have children later in life, we'll see more babies born with Downs syndrome.
It's something women may have thought about lately watching vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin with her baby who has the disability. She was 44 when she gave birth.
By then, a woman's risk for having a baby with downs syndrome skyrockets. When you're twenty the risk is one in two thousand but at 49 the risk jumps to one in ten.
But statistics show 80 percent of Downs babies are born to women under 35. Despite how common Down's syndrome is, the prenatal diagnostic tests are not very accurate and they're risky and expensive.
There are two types: One screens for the risk of your baby having Down's Syndrome. The other actually tells you if the baby has it.
The most commonly used screening test is "The Triple Screen" which evaluates the mother's blood. Ultrasounds are also used to look for physical characteristics of Down's syndrome.
The more accurate diagnostic tests are amniocentesis, chorionic villus Sampling or CVS and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling or PUBS.
The problem is they can all result in a one percent chance of miscarriage which is substantial.
Luckily two new tests are under development. They're not only much safer, they're accurate and cheaper. A simple drop of Mom's blood is used to examine the small amount of fetal DNA present.
Both tests look at chromosome 21 because a baby with Downs has an extra copy. The tests measure the amount of chromosome 21 from each parent. If it's not equal then Downs is indicated.
The new tests will let expecting moms know their baby is healthy or allow them to better prepare for what's ahead.
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