Pregnancy will complicate the mood of parents-to-be. They will not only throb with expectation, but also show worries about the unknown.
However, prenatal genetic testing can identify whether the baby has genetic abnormalities before birth, so the screening results always affect the hearts of prospective parents.
For this reason, the Gene Medical Center of Cleveland Clinic in the United States explained some misunderstandings about prenatal gene testing.
Myth 1: All Pregnant Women Should Have Prenatal Genetic Testing
Truth: Prenatal genetic testing is divided into two parts: prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis. Some prenatal tests (such as ultrasound examination and serological examination) belong to prenatal screening, which is required by every expectant mother. However, some special tests, such as non-invasive genetic testing, are more recommended for high-risk pregnant women.
High-risk pregnant women refer to:
- Pregnant women are over 35 years old; Abnormal results of ultrasound examination or serological examination; Pregnant women with a history of abnormal childbirth or family history of genetic diseases.
However, expectant mothers do not need to understand all the details, because the genetic experts in the Cleveland Clinic’s prenatal medical team will customize the genetic testing plan for each expectant mother separately.
Myth 2: All prenatal genetic tests are invasive
Truth: Some prenatal diagnostic tests are indeed invasive, such as amniocentesis and chorion sampling. But now there are many new non-invasive tests, so expectant mothers do not have to take some invasive tests.
The new technology can find fetal abnormalities only by testing the mother’s blood. At present, these new technologies for prenatal gene screening are limited to certain specific chromosomal abnormalities, such as:
- Trisomy 13 syndrome; Trisomy 18 syndrome; Trisomy 21 syndrome (Down syndrome); Sex chromosome abnormalities, etc.
In fact, the purpose of the examination is not to characterize the fetus before it is born, but to provide as much information as possible to prospective parents and obstetricians so as to make corresponding treatment.
Myth 3: All genetic abnormalities can lead to diseases.
Truth: There may be various genetic variations in human development, but some variations or genetic abnormalities only increase the risk of human suffering from certain special diseases.
Therefore, not all gene abnormalities are as serious as trisomy 13 syndrome or trisomy 18 syndrome, and genetic medicine experts will make reasonable evaluation according to gene test results.
Myth 4: Negative results mean that children are healthy,
Truth: Although gene testing has found many abnormalities that could not be found before, gene testing is still not omnipotent.
In some high-risk situations, if the result of an examination indicates that it is normal, it only means that the child is unlikely to suffer from the disease targeted by the examination, but some rare abnormalities cannot be completely ruled out.
For some parents-to-be, some test results may be difficult to accept, but genetic medicine experts and obstetricians usually tell them the truth. Although genetic tests sometimes give some worrying information, most parents-to-be still get healthy babies.
Myth 5: Test Results Can’t Change what
Truth: For parents-to-be, the test results may make them feel uneasy, but genetic tests can help obstetricians and parents-to-be make more reasonable decisions together.
For example, if the test results indicate that Down’s syndrome is positive, obstetricians will prepare for high-risk pregnancies and carry out other relevant tests on pregnant women. Parents of children can also apply for some special medical services to take care of their children as soon as possible.
Therefore, even if the test indicates abnormal results, it can still help prospective parents to face pregnancy correctly.