Down's syndrome testing hits several European markets

A new prenatal test for Down's syndrome hit the market in Germany and several other European countries Monday, the manufacturer said, amid a controversy over whether it could lead to more abortions.

The product, marketed as PrenaTest and manufactured by German life sciences company LifeCodexx, "is targeted exclusively toward women in their 12th week of pregnancy and beyond who are at an increased risk" of delivering a child with Down's syndrome, the company said in a statement.

The test which involves screening pregnant women's blood samples for the presence of foetal Down's syndrome -- also known as -- had recently come under fire from rights groups concerned about abortions.

In June, the international federation of Down's syndrome organisations objected to such testing at the .

The federation, grouping 30 associations in 16 countries, said the Strasbourg court should "recognise the human condition and protect the right to life of people with Down's syndrome and those handicapped".

But last month, Switzerland gave the test the green light with a decision by Swissmedic, the national agency for therapeutic products.

Germany's ombudsman for the disabled, Hubert Huppe, for his part called the test "illegal", fearing a "selection of man by Down's Syndrome", but it did not stop the test from going to market.

Down's syndrome is caused by having an extra copy of and the risk increases as a woman gets older.

LifeCodexx described their procedure as a "risk-free alternative to common invasive examination methods such as amniocentesis".

currently used for -- in the 16th week of pregnancy -- pose a one percent risk of foetal loss.The diagnosis is therefore only made available to high risk women, which fails to catch all cases.

Besides Germany and Switzerland, the test is also now available in Austria and Liechtenstein.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Blood test detects Down syndrome during pregnancy

Feb 23, 2012

(HealthDay) -- A second company reports that it has developed a prenatal blood test to detect Down syndrome, potentially providing yet another option for pregnant women who want to know whether their unborn ...

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

22 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.