– I witness geneticists asking their patients the question: why do the test, if the acquired knowledge about possible genetic defects of the fetus does not give them any decision-making options. Sometimes patients have doubts whether prenatal tests are legal, says geneticist Magdalena Kaliszewska, doctor of biological sciences from the Damian Medical Center.
Aleksandra Zalewska-Stankiewicz, “Wprost”: According to your observations, what is the atmosphere in Poland around prenatal tests? Do women sometimes feel shame, uncertainty or embarrassment when discussing this topic?
Dr. Magdalena Kaliszewska: Since a more restrictive abortion law was introduced in Poland, the topic of prenatal testing has become even more controversial than before. I witness geneticists asking their patients the question: why do the test if the acquired knowledge about possible genetic defects of the fetus does not give them any decision-making options. Sometimes patients have doubts whether prenatal tests are legal. We assure you that they are there.
What are they?
Prenatal tests are performed during pregnancy and are intended to check how the baby is developing. These include traditional tests such as ultrasound or the so-called PAPP-A test. This term covers a non-invasive biochemical test – a woman’s blood is taken to determine the concentration of specific proteins. Then, based on statistical data, the risk of a given genetic defect in the fetus is estimated.
Recently, in Poland, non-invasive genetic tests can also be performed on pregnant women. They also involve taking a blood sample from the woman. The blood of a pregnant woman contains not only the patient’s DNA, but also the so-called extracellular fetal DNA of the developing fetus. Thanks to this, it is possible to determine with great accuracy and sensitivity whether the child has any of the genetic defects covered by the test.
Why perform other genetic tests when you can perform ultrasound and the PAPPA-A test?