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Down syndrome More women opt for genetic screening to detect infant disability risk

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Despite an increase in the number of women taking the test, the abortion rate has remained stable


More than one in four expecting Swiss mothers undergo non-invasive prenatal genetic screening to identify chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome in their potential offspring. 

According to the latest figures from the Federal Office of Public Health, 25,000 out of 87,000 expecting mothers undergo non-invasive prenatal genetic screening every year, report the Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung papers. The test, which costs CHF800 ($834.4), detects trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), 18 and 13 with a 99% reliability. The risk of having a child with such a disability is significant once the probability exceeds 0.1% (chance of one in a thousand). Around 80% of the women who opt for a genetic screening do so between the 11th and 14th week of pregnancy. 

Despite the availability of the genetic screening test for the last five years, the number of abortions have remained stable. In 2016, 70 children were born with Down syndrome, which represents 0.8% of all newborns, as many as in previous years.

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