Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) for Down Syndrome Reimbursed without any Debate

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) will heretofore be reimbursed (390 €) by the French National Health Care system, according to the decree published in the Official Journal on December 27.   Three decrees which specify the conditions for NIPT were published last December in the Official Journal. The first decree specifies the standard operating procedures for screening and prenatal diagnosis, now adding NIPT whenever first trimester screening results indicate a high risk of Down syndrome. The second decree provides additional information on NIPT to future parents whose child may be at risk for Down syndrome. The third decree specifies the reporting protocol to the Biomedical Agency for any pregnant woman diagnosed as being at risk. Already on May 7, 2017 a decree was published in the Official Journal which added NIPT to the list of screening tests for Down syndrome during pregnancy. Since May 2017, the French National Health Authority has been recommending NIPT. During the first trimester a maternal blood test is performed to analyze the baby’s DNA present in the fetus’ cells which circulate in the mother’s bloodstream. If the results are not clearly decisive, a second screening test is also offered free of charge. Women whose fetus has a risk between 1/1000 and 1/51 are offered a sonogram to measure nuchal translucency and a blood test for serial markers. According to the National Health Authority, out of a total of 800,000 pregnancies annually, almost 58,000 women could be screened, thus detecting 15% more babies with Down syndrome, while decreasing amniocentesis for measuring fetal karyotype by 25%. However amniocentesis would not be completely replaced by NIPT since it would still be automatically recommended for any positive test result or for risks measuring 1/50. Previously amniocentesis was only proposed if the risk was 1/250. Alliance VITA deplores the increasing pressure, year after year, for screening for Down syndrome. Will anyone be able to escape such determination to avoid the birth of babies with Down Syndrome when France has now become the world leader in eugenics?]]>

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