New Down Syndrome Test Could Cut Healthy Baby Deaths

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"Within a year, you are going to be able to buy this off the shelf, way cheaper," said http://www.drexelmed.edu/Home/AboutTheCollege/DepartmentsCentersandInstitutes/Centers/CenterforMolecularDiagnosticsandGenomeResear.aspx" target="external">Dr. Laird G Jackson, a geneticist and obstetrician at Drexel University College of Medicine. "What you have here is a wedge opening so what this is demonstrating here is that it could [be available] relatively soon and for a reasonable price."

Expectant mothers are also excited, even though it might mean just one more test to get worked up about.

"If I had the opportunity to take a blood test instead of amniocentesis, I would take the blood test hands down," said Amy Ball, 45, who is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child.

Fortunately, as a high-risk mother, she has passed all the initial genetic screening -- blood tests, ultrasounds and even an "organ inventory" - with no problems. She was offered CVS but declined.

"You get poked a million times anyway when you are pregnant," said the marketing manager from Sebastapol, Calif. "Another blood test is no big deal. But a needle going in the amniotic sac and potentially harming the baby is scary, particularly at an older age. You are a little more paranoid."

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