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Entries in Fetal Health (1)

Thursday
Jul052012

Genome Sequencing Making Fetal Health Testing Easier, Raising Questions

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(STANFORD, Calif.) -- A new test is making it easier to determine the health of a fetus. But this new method to inform expecting parents about whether their late-term baby will be born with health problems also raises ethical questions.
 
In the past, doctors took a sample from the fetus to get a complete genetic sequence that could offer clues on possible diseases or defects that would need to be remedied. But that test could also harm the fetus. That danger changed a month ago when researchers simply took a sample from the mother's blood and the father's saliva.

Now researchers at Stanford University have simplified the process even more. They used only blood samples from two pregnant women, one with a healthy fetus, the other with a rare genetic disorder. The test results matched each baby's condition after birth. The entire process was completed without the paternal DNA.
 
This new method, which can be performed in the first trimester, leaves enough time to detect and treat diseases during pregnancy and prevents others by showing moms what foods to avoid during pregnancy.
 
But despite the test's usefulness, the researchers fear it could compromise ethics. In about three years, the new technology could determine the complete genetic sequence of an unborn child, and those results, some fear, could lead prospective parents to terminate pregnancies they wouldn't have otherwise.
 
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio