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Non-invasive prenatal screening test for Down syndrome, Patau syndrome and Edwards syndrome: eugenism in Japan

Publié le : 29 November 2013

 In Japan, the new non-invasive prenatal screening test (NIPT) capable of diagnosing chromosomal abnormalities in a foetus (Down, Patau and Edwards syndrome) was introduced in April 2013. According to The Japan News website, 98% of women whose foetus is diagnosed with Down, Patau or Edwards syndrome decide to have an abortion.          

More precisely, the journal stipulates that, out of the 3,514 women who decided to undergo NIPT between April and September 2013, 67, i.e. 1.9%, were told that "their foetus would most probably be affected" by an abnormal chromosome (Down, Patau or Edwards syndrome).         
Out of these 67 women, 2 miscarried before this result could be confirmed by additional tests such as amniocentesis, and 3 refused to undergo these further tests. The other 62 women opted to have additional tests. The diagnosis was confirmed in 54 women, 2 experienced a miscarriage as a result of these tests and 6 foetuses were not affected by chromosomal abnormalities.   
Finally, the newspaper explained that 168 women decided not to undergo prenatal screening tests after having been informed of genetic diseases caused by chromosomal abnormalities.      
As far as Japan News is concerned, these facts show that almost all of the women who tested positive with the new test decided to have an abortion. This begs one question – should this test be made available to anyone who wants it? According to the newspaper, new discussions must be held before the procedure is generalised. The procedure currently costs 200,000 yens, i.e. approximately 1,450 Euros. 

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