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

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme recommended
Last review completed March 2011
Next review due in n/a

Evidence to support continuation or cessation of existing screening programmes should be reviewed regularly. The process for this is currently being revised, which is why this topic does not currently have a review date. The new process will be published in due course. Each programme has an active portfolio of research, evidence and audit to support continual improvement. Find out more about down's syndrome screening, as part of the fetal anomaly screening programme in England

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.


Find general information about population health screening.

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.


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

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

Related documents

icon Second trimester quadruple testing for T21 in twins (PDF document, 85KB, 16/07/14)

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