A non-invasive screening blood test has inadvertently caused more problems than the one it was designed to solve. The ‘NIPT’ blood test, which can be carried out as early as seven weeks, was designed as a more accurate way of providing screening for babies with Down’s syndrome. As Dr Rick Thomas comments on the Christian Medical Fellowship blog, it would result in “far fewer false positives and far fewer women [having] to go forward for invasive tests to confirm the condition – procedures that may result in the inadvertent miscarriage of a healthy fetus.” @ However, it can also provide the answer as to the baby’s sex and experts have noticed an increase in the number of requests for the blood test in order to find out the sex of babies, not necessarily to find out their risk of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome.
The Telegraph newspaper reported in November that it had uncovered evidence on online forums that women were using the test purely to find out the sex of their baby. @ It also invited the Department of Health to provide a comment, who merely said “the NHS only offered NIPT testing to determine genetic disorders.”