Non-invasive fetal testing provides a safe way for obstetricians to determine if there are chromosome abnormalities present in a developing baby. This form of testing, also called cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening, is available at each Shannon OB/GYN office.
This screening blood test is done after 10 weeks pregnancy. For the test, DNA from the baby is extracted from a maternal blood sample and tested for the presence of several specific chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome. The test also identifies the baby’s sex.
Your OB may recommend non-invasive fetal testing for several reasons:
- You have certain risk factors for having a baby with a chromosomal condition, including maternal age past 35 or if you have previously given birth to a baby with a chromosomal condition.
- If you are the carrier of an X-linked recessive disorder, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy or hemophilia, knowing the sex of the baby is important and can be determined earlier than with an ultrasound.
Until recently, the test was only offered to high-risk women, but now it is frequently offered to all pregnant women who start prenatal care early in pregnancy. Early prenatal care is important.
This type of prenatal screening poses no physical risks for you or your baby. There are some limitations to the testing and your doctor will determine if this testing method is appropriate for you and your baby. For more information, please consult your OB provider.