What a Genetic Fetal Screening May Be Able To Tell You

What a Genetic Fetal Screening May Be Able To Tell You

Most pregnancies come with a certain amount of anxiety because you want everything to turn out successfully. While there’s no way to predict with 100% certainty whether your child will be healthy, there are certain screenings or tests that we can run if there’s cause for concern.

At Marion Ob/Gyn, Dr. David Foulk and our team specialize in obstetrics, including high-risk pregnancies. To help safeguard the health of the mother and the unborn child, we offer different types of prenatal screenings, including those that determine the risks for certain genetic disorders.

Defining genetic disorders

There are two types of genetic disorders that can be cause for concern for expectant mothers. 

The first are genetic disorders due to a change in your unborn baby’s genes or chromosomes, such as aneuploidy, which is caused by missing chromosomes (monosomy) or extra chromosomes (trisomy).

A change in chromosome numbers can often lead to physical and intellectual disabilities.

The other type of genetic disorder is one in which a change in the parents’ genes, called a mutation, can be passed on to the child. Examples of inherited genetic disorders include sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs disease.

Prenatal genetic screening versus testing

To determine whether your child may be at risk for (or have) a genetic disorder, there are two types of testing:

Screening

Through minimally invasive prenatal screenings, which include blood samples and ultrasound, we can screen your fetus for conditions that include:

Note that these prenatal screenings aren’t definitive and can only provide information regarding the risks or chances of your baby having an issue. In other words, if your screening comes back positive, it doesn’t mean that your unborn child will have a genetic disorder, only that the odds are greater. 

Conversely, receiving a negative screen doesn’t mean that your unborn child won’t have an issue, just that the likelihood is lower.

Testing

If there’s ample cause for concern, especially after screening, you can opt for more definitive testing, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. 

These tests are invasive because we need to access your amniotic fluid or placenta, so they don’t come without risks. If your situation is one in which the information outweighs the risks, this type of testing is far more conclusive.

To know or not to know

The decision regarding whether to undergo genetic fetal testing is entirely yours. Some parents want to know ahead of time if there’s a problem so they can better prepare themselves. Others prefer to let life unfold as it will. 

There is no right or wrong answer here, but we can provide you with critical information that can better inform your decision.

If you want to learn more about genetic fetal screening, please contact our office in Marion, Ohio, to set up an appointment.

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