We humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes which add up to 46 in all. But people with down syndrome have 47. That slight defect is the most common cause of mild to moderate mental retardation.
A simple blood test when a woman is 16 weeks pregnant can determine if there is an increased risk of down syndrome. At that point, other tests are available to be sure. Now there is a new prenatal test for down syndrome that combines a blood test with ultrasound...and can be done earlier in the pregnancy.
A study participant, Amy Gonzales, says "it was very reassuring. I think it really helped us enjoy the rest of the pregnancy knowingthat everything looked good".
Dr. David Luthy M.D. who works at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle says "now, at 11 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, a diagnostic test could be done and within 24 hours they could have preliminary results available". Dr. Luthy also says the new test is 87 percent accurate in comparison to the standard blood test which identified downs syndrome 81 percent of the time.
We checked and found that the new test is not available in Lubbock.