NIPT prenatal Down’s test to be included in basic health package


A simple blood test for Down’s syndrome will be included in the basic health insurance package from next year, if health minister Edith Schippers has her way.

Last month, Labour and Socialist MPs called on the minister to make the test freely available to all pregnant women. The NIPT test is a DNA test on maternal blood to screen pregnancies for the most common fetal chromosome anomalies and is said to be 99% accurate for Down’s.

The test has been used in teaching hospitals for the past two years on women who have an increased risk of a Down’s child.

‘Unless the health council has major objections, then I am inclined to licence the test,’ Schippers told MPs. The health council is due to publish its recommendations on the entire prenatal care system in December.

Opponents say giving the test free to all women will increase pressure on them to actually use it and to have abortions if the baby is found to have the syndrome.

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