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ACOG: Chromosome Screen Should Be Offered to Patients

Public may misunderstand new guidelines, which suggest that screening be offered to all pregnant women

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- All pregnant women, regardless of age, should be offered fetal chromosomal disorder screening. That's the verdict of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which reiterated its recommendation this week at their annual meeting in San Diego.

In January, the group advised physicians to routinely offer screening before the 20th week of gestation using biochemical or ultrasound tests that are non-invasive and low risk. If screening suggests that there is a high risk of fetal chromosomal abnormalities, women can be offered diagnostic testing with amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.

"There has been some public misunderstanding about the change in ACOG's guidelines," said Deborah Driscoll, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "We are not recommending that all pregnant women be screened, but rather we are recommending that all pregnant women be offered screening."

ACOG emphasized that not all women should automatically be screened or encouraged to undergo screening.

"It is entirely up to the patient to decide whether or not she wishes to be screened for fetal chromosomal abnormalities without judgment from the physician," said Driscoll, who helped draft the association's recommendations regarding chromosomal screening.

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