Last October, I attended the American Society of Human Genetics conference and spoke to a representative at a booth for Verinata about noninvasive prenatal diagnostics using state-of-the-art genome sequencing technologies.
A few weeks later, Sequenom announced it offered the same test.
There as been some "legal banter" between the two companies.
Verinata just recently released its manuscript in Obstetrics and Gynecology verifying its accuracy.
What does this mean for the future mothers?
I have not read the publication in thorough detail, but if non-invasive sequencing methods can detect chromosomal abnormalities, will they become the screening method of choice in the near future? With invasive sampling techniques, patients are always anxious over miscarriage rates, however low they may be. Some mothers, choose not to do any screening. However, given a non-invasive, no-risk blood test, would mothers choose this to carry on the pregnancy with a prepared mind?
To those of you who are interested, it is not part of Canada's healthcare yet. It is not available in Canada, and at the current moment, only US physicians can order the test. I am not sure about the cost, but apparently, you can send in a blood sample in the 10th week. Turn-around time is 8-10 days. I am sure it will enter Canada soon.
I have been following this story for quite some time, ever since the conference, as I think it affects many mothers-to-be all over the world. I had a "scare" with my first pregnancy, and the anxiety was very, very stressful. Something like this would have been wonderful.
So to all those planning on having babies in the future, keep informed of this topic - it may really affect your life.