Are you at a higher risk of having a child with Down Syndrome? Find out where you can go for Down Syndrome testing that provide accurate results
Down Syndrome affects one in every 1000-1100 live births worldwide. While there is no medical cure or manner of prevention for Down Syndrome, early intervention can be performed starting with a Down Syndrome screening test to find out whether a mother-to-be is at risk for having a baby with this chromosomal condition.
"While the Down Syndrome test is not compulsory in Singapore, about 90% of pregnant women in Singapore take these tests," says Dr Eunice Chua, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at TLC Gynaecology Practice.
Tests differ according to the stage of your pregnancy. There is an initial screening during the first stage of pregnancy followed by diagnostic tests that ascertain the probability of Down Syndrome only after the results of the former are available.
Types of Down Syndrome screening tests in Singapore
#1: Nuchal Translucency (NT) Scan
Nuchal Translucency is an ultrasound scan which measures the width of the spinal cord at the back of the baby's neck. It is usually performed between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy and is sometimes referred to as the First Trimester Screening. Doctors usually recommend this assessment as part of the Oscar Test.
- Procedure: Via an ultrasound scan
- Release period of result: As soon as the ultrasound scan is completed
- Cost: $267.50+ at NUH
Additional information on the NT Scan at National University Hospital (NUH) can be found here.
#2: Triple Test or Maternal Serum Screening
The Triple Test measures a set of three hormones (alpha-fetoprotein, HCG and Oestriol) in the blood of the pregnant mother. A risk value is calculated according to maternal age and the gestational age of the foetus at that time. Usually done around weeks 14 to 18 of pregnancy, it is also referred to as the Second Trimester Screening. Its accuracy is only 65%, thus, this test is less commonly performed during this period.
- Procedure: Sample of mother's blood is taken
- Release period of result: About seven working days
- Cost: $149+ at Singapore General Hospital (SGH)
More information on the Triple Test or Maternal Serum Screening at the SGH is available here.
Continue reading for Down Syndrome screening tests that offer higher detection rate