Down syndrome: NIP available in Singapore

Publié le : 5 May 2014

 The new non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) test that diagnoses chromosomal foetal anomalies, especially Down syndrome, based on a simple maternal blood test, is now available in Singapore.

However, doctors have advised that caution should be exercised when interpreting NIPS results. According to Professor George Yeo, Head of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, if the test diagnoses Down syndrome in 99.5% of cases, only one in five cases is actually positive in reality. Ultimately, women must always undergo amniocentesis in order to confirm whether or not their unborn child has Down syndrome. 

Apart from its reliability, this technique also raises an ethical issue in the countries where it is commercially available. In April 2014, still in Asia, Japanese clinical trials showed that, over a six-month period, over 90% of women carrying an unborn child that had tested positive with this procedure underwent an abortion (Gènéthique press review on April 21st, 2014).

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