Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prenatal Testing -- Guest Post

Boy or Girl: Discovering the Gender of your baby

A simple urine DNA test can determine the sex of your baby at just 9 weeks. This is because scientists
are able to carry out analysis of fetal DNA in maternal urine and can easily confirm or exclude the
presence of Y chromosome in the sample provided. If no Y chromosome is detected, then the unborn
baby is a girl. Significantly, baby gender DNA testing in the prenatal stage has gone even further than
simply determining gender. Below are some additional applications.

Prenatal DNA testing: Autoimmune Illnesses and Paternity

Awareness of hereditary illnesses and autoimmune diseases has increased and nowadays most couples
want to ensure their child will be born healthy and strong. Depending on the age, family history and
other factors, many couples request fetal DNA testing in pregnancy to determine the genetic health of
the child if any preliminary prenatal tests suggest the possibility of a congenital disease. Conventional
methods for fetal DNA sampling such as amniocentesis, percutaneous umbilical cord sampling and
chorionic villus sampling have certain risks including damage to fetal limbs, leakage of amniotic fluid and
miscarriage. These risks make some expectant mothers highly reluctant to undergo them unless deemed
absolutely necessary.

These days one can carry out fetal DNA testing using only maternal blood samples. Such a test is totally
risk free for both the mother and the baby. When it comes to diagnosis of disease, this sampling method
is still in its early stages but results are very promising. Scientists have already successfully mapped the
entire fetal genome using only blood samples collected by a standard blood draw.

Pregnant mother’s blood samples have also been successfully used for prenatal paternity testing. This
test provides an accuracy of 99.9%.

If you wish to do go ahead with a prenatal test, whether for paternity or for hereditary illnesses in the
unborn fetus, it is recommended that you choose an AABB and ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.

What are the pros of baby gender testing and other prenatal tests?

The advantages are many and whilst people often link prenatal testing with abortion this is not an
accurate perception of reality. Clearly, knowing the sex of an unborn baby can simply be done to
help select names and bedroom color schemes. But there are more uses for baby gender testing: If,
for example, you are aware of an autoimmune disease that is specific to the Y chromosome, you do
not have to worry about any further fetal genetic health tests if the gender test results show you are
expecting a baby girl.

Prenatal testing can also carry further uses – whilst some couples might choose to terminate the
pregnancy of a child that may carry the genes for Down’s syndrome, others will simply begin preparing
in a different way for the birth and care of a special needs child, looking into the appropriate post
natal care, schooling, support groups and taking advantage of the hundreds of organizations that are
committed to improving the quality of life for people with Down syndrome worldwide.

Prenatal testing for paternity can help solve any doubts and identify the true parent as early as possible.
This means the biological father can begin playing both a supportive role and a financial one as early
as possible. It can also alleviate any stress and tension for the mother. Remember that any stress the
mother might be suffering from could affect the unborn baby.

Some claims about prenatal testing

Prenatal DNA testing for fetal genetic health and how one decides to proceed following the results is
just a matter of choice. Each couple expecting a baby weighs out the pros and the cons. Some mothers
may refrain from any type of prenatal test if they feel the risks outweigh the benefits of any knowledge
and information derived from the DNA test results. In certain countries, such as India and China, baby
gender testing is not sold by DNA testing companies because these countries are heavily patriarchal and
are known to practice gender selection. Often, they will terminate a pregnancy if they know the baby
will be a girl. The concept of termination of pregnancy for gender selection is alien to western societies
and viewed as highly unethical.

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