A blood test for pregnant women that could detect virtually any genetic disorder in an unborn child without risking a miscarriage has been developed by scientists. The experimental technique promises to transform prenatal testing for inherited diseases by identifying conditions such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anaemia from traces of a foetus’s DNA in its mother’s bloodstream. If the encouraging preliminary research is confirmed by larger trials, the safe and non-invasive procedure could replace diagnostic techniques such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). These involve inserting a needle into the womb, and cause miscarriage in about one pregnancy in 100. The test could be performed in the eighth week of pregnancy.
From the Times of London: