DSA’s response to offer of non-invasive pre-natal testing in Wales  

From 30 April 2018 Wales will be the first of the UK nations to offer women non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as a supplementary test.

All antenatal screening tests are elective. Currently pregnant women can choose whether they wish to have a test or not. NIPT is considered more reliable than the test that is currently offered.

NIPT will only be offered to women in Wales who have already received a higher-chance result from a combined screening test, which is the test that is currently available in NHS settings.

NIPT is not a diagnostic test and in order for women to obtain a confirmed pre-natal diagnosis, they would still need to undergo an invasive procedure.

Many parents report that information from health professionals about Down’s syndrome has a negative bias. We want to be able to ensure that instead all parents receive accurate, balanced and up to date information about the condition and are aware of the increased opportunities for children and adults with Down’s syndrome today.

We also need to ensure that women have rapid access to appropriate counselling so that they can make an informed decision that is right for them.

The DSA believes that all maternity health professionals – midwives, screening coordinators, sonographers and obstetricians – should be properly trained about Down’s syndrome and have access to up to date and balanced information about what living with Down’s syndrome is like.

Parents and individuals with Down’s syndrome should play an important role in this training, explaining the inclusive lives that many people with Down’s syndrome now enjoy. In January 2018 the DSA facilitated a training day for antenatal care professionals working across Wales and continues to offer The Royal College of Midwives accredited Tell it Right™ training FREE to all maternity units who request it.