If you have a family history of genetic disorders or if you are 35 years of age or older, you may already be considering prenatal DNA testing. If so, you may be wondering when would be the right time conduct a prenatal DNA test, or if it even matters when you choose to have the test.
What is the timeline for performing prenatal DNA testing?
Each prenatal diagnostic test requires a different gestation period for testing. The test you choose will most likely depend on the genetic disorder for which your baby is at risk. Your doctor will inform you of which abnormalities should be screened and which tests will be the most effective screening options.
CVS, or chorionic villus sampling, is an invasive procedure used to diagnose Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome. The test also detects genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell anemia. The gestation period suggested for performing this test lies between gestation weeks 10-12.
Cell-Free DNA Testing is a non-invasive prenatal DNA test, requiring nothing more than a blood draw from the mother and can be performed as early as week 10 in gestation. This test is used to detect Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and patau syndrome, along with other chromosomal anomalies that are reported as Additional Findings.
Amniocentesis is what physicians will suggest if they are suspicious of a neural tube defect. This test can also serve to diagnose Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome. It is recommended that the test be conducted between weeks 15 – 20 of gestation.
Cordocentesis, although only conducted by physicians if a test result cannot be obtained through CVS or amniocentesis, is performed during the second trimester anytime after gestation week 17. This test is primarily used by physicians to test for anemia in the fetus and can also be used to administer a blood transfusion to the fetus if needed.
Can I choose to perform a test before the recommended gestation period?
Some parents will want test results earlier on so that they can make decisions on continuing with the pregnancy or to get a head start on planning for the future of their child. For decisions such as these, it is important to have all of the information in front of you as soon as you can, to give yourself time to absorb and assess whatever information the tests may provide. You may also consider meeting with a genetic counselor who can provide additional information, as well as emotional support and clarity, while you process the results of your screening tests.
However, opting to have any of these procedures done before the indicated time could result in a higher percentage of risks. It is best to perform the tests during the recommended gestation time indicated to you by your physician. If you have further questions or concerns, bring them up with your healthcare provider as he or she can provide authoritative guidance on these issues.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.