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'Safer' Down's syndrome test to be introduced in Wales

From BBC - August 21, 2017

A safer and more accurate test for Down's syndrome is to be introduced for pregnant mothers in Wales, the Welsh Government has announced.

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) will be offered from 2018.

The decision by the Welsh Government follows moves in England to do the same.

Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans said ministers wanted to ensure every expectant mother in Wales receives the information and support they need.

The new blood test - while not offering a complete diagnosis - aims to better inform women of the risks of having a child with the genetic disorder.

It is more accurate than current antenatal screening, which estimates the chance that pregnant women have of having a baby with Down's syndrome.

If the risk is deemed high, women are offered an invasive test called amniocentesis - where a needle is used to extract amniotic fluid and which carries a risk of miscarriage.

It is expected one to two babies per year in Wales will be saved from miscarriage as a result of the introduction of NIPT, which will be offered as an additional option for women found to have a higher risk of having a child with Down's syndrome.

'Training needed'

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