Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fetal screening
Fetal screening refers to any tests that allow a fetus to be tested for certain traits or characteristics.
Most often this is performed to test for birth defects. Common procedures include amniocentesis, sonograms, nuchal translucency testing, or genetic screening. The tests can be used to check for conditions such as Down syndrome, spina bifida, cleft palate, Tay Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, and fragile x syndrome. In some cases, the tests are administered to determine if the fetus will be aborted.
In some cases, fetal screening has been done to determine characteristics generally not considered birth defects. In some parts of the world, if a fetus is determined to be female, it is sometimes aborted. The rise of designer babies and parental selection for specific traits raises a host of bioethical and legal issues that will dominate reproductive rights debates in the 21st century.

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