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Down's syndrome

The UK NSC policy on Down's syndrome screening in pregnancy

Policy

 
Type Antenatal
Last review completed March 2011
Next review due in 2013/14
Policy recommendation     Systematic population screening programme recommended
 

Screening should be offered to all pregnant women.

The only substantial change made during the 2011 review was that the cut off threshold for all strategies at all stages of pregnancy has been agreed to be set at 1 in 150 at term and this must be implemented from the 1 October 2011.

 

What is screening?

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition. They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition. It is important to ensure that the benefits and downsides of screening have been properly thought through. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is responsible for reviewing screening policies every 3 years and making recommendations to ministers in the 4 UK countries about whether to not a screening programme for a certain condition should be set up.

» Find out more about screening, the role of the UK NSC or the policy review process

More about Down's syndrome

Down's syndrome (or 'Down syndrome'), a chromosomal disorder, occurs when, instead of the normal complement of two copies of chromosome 21, there is a whole, or sometimes part of an, additional chromosome 21.

Chromosome abnormalities give rise to specific physical features seen in Down's syndrome. The range of cognitive disabilities as well as other attributes is enormously wide in Down's syndrome. The majority are in the mild range of cognitive ability. Associated defects may include ear and/or eye defects, an increased propensity for infections and heart defects.

» Read more about Down's syndrome on the Contact a Family website

Screening in the UK

Compare how screening is offered across the UK.

Policy stakeholders

Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK
Down's Syndrome Association
Down's syndrome Medical Interest Group
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the policy is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More about the policy review process, including the role of stakeholders, can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's policy review process.

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