Prenatal genetic screening is intended to provide information about the health of the fetus.
Prenatal screening can bring to light serious disabilities, such as congenital, genetic, and/or chromosomal problems. Generally, prenatal screening is offered as part of routine prenatal care, such as maternal serum screening, or if the mother is at risk of having a child with a serious genetic condition due to mature age or family history. See the following page for more information on prenatal blood screening programs in Canada.
Prenatal Screening Guidelines
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists recommend that screening for a condition should be undertaken only when the condition is considered to be serious enough to require intervention. They recommend that any screening program should:
• Be comprehensive and include information for parents and clinicians that is easily understood so that informed decisions can be made.
• Have timely access, a system to provide results and referral for follow-up testing, and access to treatment.
• Allow women and families to refuse testing at each step.
• Be evaluated.
• Have the ability to incorporate new technology.
Source: Chitayat D, Langlois S, Wilson RD. Prenatal Screening for Fetal Aneuploidy in Singleton Pregnancies. Joint SOGC-CCMG Clinical Practice Guideline No. 261 (Replaces No. 187, February 2007). http://www.sogc.org/guidelines/documents/gui261CPG1107E.pdf.