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NIPT Popularity Rises

Prenatal genetic testing is becoming more popular among parents-to-be, the Washington Post reports. But, it notes, that not all expectant parents are ready for the information testing could uncover.

While first adopted for mothers-to-be over the age of 35, non-invasive prenatal testing is increasingly being offered to younger mothers, the Post says, adding that in 2017 about 60 percent of OB/GYNs prescribed it to younger women. Offering NIPT more widely, though, brings up concerns about whether patients are well informed about what the tests may uncover as well as their limitations — that, in addition to telling expectant parents what the sex of their baby is, it could uncover a risk of Down syndrome or other conditions, though that any results should be confirmed.

"As a culture, we've gotten so swept in gender reveal parties that we've forgotten the real purpose of the test," Blair Stephens, a genetic counselor, tells the Post. "I see women in my office with positive results who don't know what they've have their blood drawn for."