Blood Test Could Replace Amniocentesis, Save Unborn Children From Miscarriage

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 10, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Blood Test Could Replace Amniocentesis, Save Unborn Children From Miscarriage

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 10
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The British National Health Service is working on a new blood test that could replace amniocentesis and save countless unborn children who are normally threatened by them. The amniocentesis test puts the lives of unborn children at risk and can lead to abortions that may not have occurred otherwise.

The London Guardian indicates NHS has put about $3 million into new technology and that the blood test could become the standard and replace amniocentesis.

Although the test would not alleviate concerns about increased abortions based on the test results, the newspaper indicates it would save as many as 265 babies in the United Kingdom alone who die as a result of premature delivery brought on by it.

The new test involves a sample of maternal blood and is called a non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD). It would be easier to administer, provider faster results and be able to be used earlier in pregnancy.

"NIPD is exciting because it could mean that in future many thousands of women will not have to undergo invasive tests, which carry a risk of miscarriage, to diagnose genetic and chromosomal conditions in developing babies," Professor Lyn Chitty told the newspaper.

During the current procedure, amniotic fluid is withdrawn from a woman’s uterus to test for certain problems in the unborn baby such as genetic defects, fetal infections, fetal lung immaturity, or Rh sensitization.

A needle is typically inserted through a mother’s belly into the sac of amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby and a small amount of the fluid is removed. The fluid contains skin cells the baby has shed and biochemical substances the developing child has produced.

Amniocentesis increases the risk of miscarriage with as many as anywhere from one in 200 to one in 500 babies born prematurely. The procedure also carries a low risk of uterine infection, maternal or fetal hemorrhaging, and there is a risk that the needle used during amniocentesis can hit a crucial fetal area and cause permanent damage.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates look down on the procedure because mothers are sometimes persuaded by a physician to have an abortion when the test shows, perhaps incorrectly, that the baby has development problems.

The NIPD test isn’t without controversy itself.

Some private companies are using it to allow pregnant mothers to determine the sex of their unborn child and it has prompted concerns that it could lead to sex-selection abortions.

Others are concerned that it will lead to further stigmatization of disabled people.

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