Ethical, Legal and Social aspects of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing: How to appropriately integrate an emerging technology into the Canadian healthcare system?

1 Juin 2014
June 2014, Vol.3, no.2

Research group of Dr. Vardit Ravitsky on Reproductive Ethics and Genetics, Bioethics Programs, School of Public Health, University of Montreal.

One of the group’s major projects touches on a novel technology known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), that allows genetic analysis of fetal DNA circulating in maternal blood.

This technology currently allows the detection of Down syndrome (trisomy 21, which affects approximately 1 out of 500 pregnancies), trisomy 18 and 13, certain sex chromosomal anomalies and the sex of the fetus. In the future, however, it may allow the detection of conditions caused by a single-gene mutation, such as Tay-Sachs or Cystic Fibrosis diseases, and perhaps even whole genome sequencing of the fetus.