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Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada Release New Guidelines on Prenatal Diagnosis

Monday, February 05, 2007
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) released new guidelines on prenatal testing this morning.

The guidelines state, in part, that

  • All pregnant women in Canada, regardless of age, should be offered through an informed consent process a prenatal screening test for the most common clinically significant fetal aneuploidies (chromosomal abnormalities) in addition to a second trimester ultrasound for dating, growth, and anomalies.

  • Maternal age screening is a poor minimum standard for prenatal screening for aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities) and should be removed as an indication for invasive testing.

  • Amniocentesis/chorionic villi sampling (CVS) should not be provided without multiple marker screening except for women over the age of 40. Patients should be counselled accordingly.

  • Health care providers should be aware of the what screening options are available in their province or territory.

  • Screening programs should show respect for the needs and quality of life of persons with disabilities.

  • Counselling should be nondirective and should respect a woman’s choice to accept or to refuse any or all of the testing or options offered at any point in the process.

  • The key points to note about the guidelines are

    (1) That age is being removed as the key factor in determining whether or not prenatal testing is offered. Now prenatal testing will be offered as an option to all pregnant women.
    (2) Multiple marker screening will be the first test offered to pregnant women under 40. Amniocentesis or CVS would be offered as follow-up tests, if a problem were uncovered and the woman decided to pursue further testing.
    (3) Prenatal screening needs to be respectful and non-judgmental. The woman's right to accept or refuse "any or all of the testing or options offered at any point in the process" must be respected; and screening programs "should show respect for the needs and quality of life of persons with disabilities."

    Public Health Agency of Canada: Congenital Anomalies in Canada: A Perinatal Health Report, 2002
    Society Of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada: Prenatal Diagnosis
    Statement on Access to Genetic Screening
    BC Health Guide: Genetics - Prenatal Screening and Testing
    Canadian Down Syndrome Society: Position Statement – Prenatal Genetic Testing

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    | posted by Ann D @ 3:55 PM