6 Things You Might Not Know about First Trimester Screening
October 31, 2014
One of the most important ways to help protect the health of a baby is to screen for abnormalities early, so expectant parents can make early medical management decisions. PerkinElmer Labs/NTD has pioneered the research and development of prenatal screening protocols and processes hundreds of thousands of maternal blood samples each year.
PerkinElmer Labs/NTD's safe and non-invasive first trimester screening test has been widely adopted by healthcare practitioners and opinion leaders worldwide. Here are 6 things you might not know about one of the most effective pregnancy risk screening options.
It's a Screening Test, not a Diagnostic Test
The test provides expectant parents with a risk assessment, designating whether their baby is at increased risk for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome), and trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome). The test involves a simple blood test and an ultrasound examination.
It Doesn't Look for Everything
First trimester screens do not test for all possible birth defects. They primarily look for specific chromosomal abnormalities.
It Can Be More Effective to Screen Earlier
Screening in the first trimester (between 11 weeks 1 day, and 13 weeks 6 days gestation) can provide expectant parents with more accurate results than later screening tests. Second trimester screens tend to have detection rates around 80 percent, whereas first trimester screens can be as high as 95 percent using the biomarker free beta hCG and certain ultrasound markers.
It Can Impact Numerous Healthcare Decisions
Expectant parents who find themselves at high risk for delivering a child with chromosomal abnormalities or other birth defects after receiving first trimester screening may wish to have diagnostic testing performed to determine whether or not their child will have a particular birth defect. If a baby is diagnosed, expectant parents can seek genetic counseling, begin looking for a qualified facility to deliver their baby, and make preparatory medical and financial decisions based on the diagnosis.
It's Optional, but It's Usually Covered By Insurance
First trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities is not required, but it is generally covered by insurance companies.
It's a Relatively New Test
The first maternal serum screening test was introduced in the 1980's. Since then, testing has evolved as better equipment and processes have been defined.
The First Trimester Screen | Fβ protocol (using the biomarker free beta hCG) is now considered the standard of care in first trimester Down syndrome screening, having been validated by 23 population-based clinical studies, including 2 NIH sponsored trials (BUN and FaSTER), involving more than 260,700 pregnant women. Screening tests using the biomarker free beta hCG are more effective in detecting Down syndrome up through 13 weeks' gestation.
DISCLAIMER: Pursuant to applicable federal and/or state laboratory requirements, PerkinElmer Labs/NTD has established and verified the accuracy and precision of its testing services.