ANCHOR LEAD : SHOULD ALL PREGNANT WOMEN HAVE THEIR FETUS ASSESSED FOR DOWN’S SYNDROME? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
All pregnant women should be offered fetal screening for Down syndrome, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has announced recently. Previously, such screening was only routinely offered to women at increased risk for having a baby with Down syndrome, specifically those aged 35 or older. Now that a new, safer test is available, the college believes all women should be offered it. Anne Burke, an obstetrician gynecologist at Johns Hopkins, says women aren’t compelled to undergo screening.
BURKE: Really, the decision is still a woman’s to make, really the purpose is to make the screening more accessible and more available, but certainly I think it’s a decision an individual woman has the right to make for herself. If she is interested in getting the testing for Down syndrome then she should be provided with those opportunities regardless of her age. :18
Currently the test is correct about 80 percent of the time. Burke says women who screen positive must undergo more sensitive and specific testing to confirm the results. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.