July 31, 2012 – The National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics (NCHPEG) and National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) have collaborated on development of a fact sheet about the use of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to screen for Down syndrome. The fact sheet is available for providers of prenatal services, including genetic counselors, obstetricians, maternal fetal medicine specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners and other healthcare professionals.
By analyzing maternal blood, NIPTscreens for trisomy 21 and a few other fetal chromosomal abnormalities without risk to the pregnancy.
“New non-invasive prenatal tests are expanding the options available to expectant parents to obtain information about the risk for certain genetic disorders in their pregnancy,” said NCHPEG’s Executive Director Joan Scott. ”It is critical that healthcare providers are prepared to help patients fully understand the range of screening and testing options available to them, the information provided by these genetic tests, their benefits and limitations, as well as results and implications.”
The fact sheet reviews NIPT technology, indications, detection rates, accuracy and other considerations, provides guidance around genetic counseling for these tests and outlines points to consider and questions to ask when selecting a testing laboratory.
Brenda Finucane, MS, CGC, president of NSGC notes, “For decades, genetic counselors have emphasized the importance of balanced, understandable information for couples considering prenatal genetic diagnosis. NSGC is pleased to be a partner in developing this valuable educational tool as we enter a new era of noninvasive prenatal testing.”
About the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics
NCHPEG is a Maryland-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote integration of genomics into healthcare practice by promoting health professional education; partnering with communities; facilitating collaboration; anticipating needs; and building products and tools. For more information, visit www.nchpeg.org.
About the National Society of Genetic Counselors
NSGC is the leading voice, authority and advocate for the genetic counseling profession, representing more than 2,700 health professionals. The organization is committed to ensuring that the public has access to genetic counseling and genetic testing. For more information, visit www.nsgc.org.
Joan A. Scott, NCHPEG
Meghan Carey, NSGC