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E. The Controversy Over Screening For Down Syndrome

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new, early ultrasound screening test for Down Syndrome has sparked some criticism. The procedure measures abnormal fluid accumulation in the neck of the fetus, which is a sign of Down Syndrome. Dr. James Goldberg of the University of California, San Francisco explains the potential downsides of the screening test.

Goldberg: We know that many fetuses with Down Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities are lost spontaneously in utero. So one criticism has been well, many of those fetuses will be lost anyway, why screen earlier? Just let nature take it's course.

Narrator: Goldberg says the same criticism can also be made for amniocentesis, another screening method.

Goldberg: One of the things that's important for people to recognize is that because this is an earlier test, that they'd have to think about it earlier in pregnancy. Many women don't go in for prenatal care >til later now. But this is something that if you want to take advantage of it, you have to think about it early enough in gestation to have that option.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.