Prenatal testing to detect genetic flaws to be launched (in India)

NEW DELHI: Now, it may be easier to detect and prevent the birth of children affected with chromosomal and genetic disorder, which account for 30-40% of mental and social handicaps. A revolutionary screening method — non-invasive prenatal testing — is set to be launched in India later this week which will allow safer and definite detection of such disorders in pregnant woman.

Chromosomal and genetic disorders cause severe problems such as mental retardation, heart and intestinal diseases. Of these, Down syndrome is the commonest, say experts. Currently, the incidence of Down syndrome is 1:800, which means approximately 32,000 babies with Down syndrome are born every year (the birth rate of India is 25.6 million births).

A new study, conducted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, showed that non-invasive prenatal testing qualifies as an “advanced” screening test. The study, conducted to assess the utility of the test, also depicts it as a safer screening option as compared to existing testing methods which have a risk of abortion. The test was offered to 500 pregnant women during the study.

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