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A new prenatal blood test for trisomy 21 has been released in Europe, and it's targeted to women in their 12th week and beyond. Is it a good thing?
A new prenatal blood test for trisomy 21 has been developed for women in their 12th week and beyond who are at increased risk for carrying a fetus with Down Syndrome. The test, which is at least 95% accurate, has already been released in Europe by the German company LifeCodexx under the name PrenaTest. An international federation of Down Syndrome organizations appealed to the European Court of Human Rights to stop the release of the test, and some physicians and advocates are concerned that the test will lead to an increase of abortions.
The makers of the test encourage amniocentesis ad genetic counseling for any woman with a positive test result. Amniocentesis, which has been the primary method of detection for trisomy 21, has a 1% risk of fetal loss in the 16th week.