Genetic testing is a wonderful medical technology. In recent years, our ability to detect chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in pregnancy has significantly improved. New technology provides much greater accuracy and effectiveness. We can now detect common genetic abnormalities in the developing fetus with higher confidence.
This new technology is Cell-free DNA testing. Cell-free DNA is the small amount of DNA that is released from the placenta into a pregnant woman’s bloodstream.
Cell-free DNA Genetic Testing
The cell-free DNA in a sample of a woman’s blood can be screened for Down syndrome. It can also test for other trisomies and sex chromosome abnormalities. This test can be done starting at 10 weeks of pregnancy. It takes about 1- 2 weeks to get the results, which also include the sex of the forming baby!
Insurance companies typically cover such tests in women who are considered high risk. High-risk patients may be advanced in age. They may also have a family history of pregnancy complications.
But recently, many insurance companies have approved this test for even low-risk women.
The benefits of Cell-free DNA testing include:
- early detection (10 weeks’ gestation)
- high accuracy
- and non-invasive nature (unlike amniocentesis)
It’s just a blood draw. A positive cell-free DNA test result should still be followed by a diagnostic test with amniocentesis.
Testing at Michigan Women’s Care
At Michigan Women’s Care, our providers offer all pregnant women the option of Cell-free DNA testing. This is based on ACOG recommendations. Although it is optional, most patients choose to undergo this blood test.
Our phlebotomist provides information to the patient to check her insurance coverage and potential deductible costs.
Early confirmation of a likely genetically normal pregnancy reassures the pregnant woman and her family. It also allows her to prepare physically and mentally should an abnormality be detected.
Our practice offers genetic testing for pregnant women. We have for many years. We also offer genetic screening to all women before they even conceive.
Informed patients can manage and prepare for pregnancy complications more confidently. To learn more, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy!