Genetic Screening for Older Mothers Video

In this film an obstetrician chats to a 35-year-old mum-to-be, who, as statistics show, is more at risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome, and explains the genetic screening options open to her.
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Jennifer Bunge: I had hard time being pregnant, and I did in vitro, and I got pregnant. I was pregnant with twins. And one of the twins stopped developing really early on. But I did have a healthy baby boy and I am just concerned that, I don't know if that makes my miscarriage rate higher. Dr. Lauren Streicher: How old are you going to be? Jennifer Bunge: 35. Dr. Lauren Streicher: 35, okay. Now you are on that, that magic number that everybody knows about, that they start to worry about genetics, and think in terms of genetic screening such as amniocentesis. And what you need to realize is, it's not as if something terrible or different has happened just because you are 35. And if you look at this chart of the age of the mother at the time of delivery, and the risk of a chromosomal abnormality at age 34 which was just last year, your risk of a baby with Down's would be 1 out of 465. At age 35, your risk is 1 out of 365. So it's not as there is something has changed that dramatically. The reason that we start talking about genetic screening historically at age 35 is because that's when the risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome is greater than the risk of miscarriage from the amniocentesis. Jennifer Bunge: Well, it's really early right now. So obviously I am really concerned about having a miscarriage, and just giving that right clinical care. Dr. Lauren Streicher: If the hormone level is doubling every 48 hours, once it gets to a certain critical threshold, we know that we can do an ultrasound and see if everything is forming correctly and if there is a heartbeat. Once we get to the heartbeat stage while it's not a guarantee that it's going to proceed and be a viable genetically normal pregnancy, it's the first step that you get to in terms of being optimistic about the pregnancy. Dr. Eugene Pergament: But, I really believe that women can consider pregnancy at almost any point. If they take into account these kinds of factors that there are screening and diagnostic tests available to them and would they want to take advantage of that.

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