Skip navigation
A. A Study Suggests Changing the Age Limit for Prenatal Diagnostic Testing

Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California, San Francisco study suggests prenatal diagnostic testing, such as amniocentesis, should be offered to all women - regardless of age. Dr. Miriam Kuppermann, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, says the risk of fetal deformities, including Down syndrome, rise with a mother's age, so the current guidelines have age 35 as the cut-off.

Kuppermann: That being an age where it would be cost beneficial to offer the test, as well as the age at which the risk of the procedure - namely the likelihood that it would cause a miscarriage - was the same likelihood that the woman was carrying an affected fetus.

Narrator: The risk of either occurrence is about 1 in 200 - and the assumption is that women consider either outcome to be an equal burden. Kuppermann conducted a study of 500 pregnant women of various ages.

Kuppermann: On average, they found having a child with Down syndrome to be more burdensome than experiencing a procedure-related miscarriage.

Narrator: The researchers also concluded that prenatal diagnostic testing for all women would be cost-effective. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.