Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- A new test makes it so much easier to determine the health of a fetus. It's a novel way to treat health problems in an unborn child, but it also raises ethical questions.
Until recently, doctors would take samples from the fetus to get a complete genetic sequence that could offer clues on possible diseases or defects. But that test could also harm the fetus. Recently, researchers started to take samples from the mother's blood and the father's saliva, to obtain similar information.
But now it's even simpler.
A study from Stanford University tested only blood samples from two pregnant women, one with a healthy fetus, and the other with a rare genetic disorder. The test results matched each baby's genetics after birth.
The new method can be done in the first trimester, leaving enough time to detect and possibly treat diseases during pregnancy.
But the test also raises obvious ethical questions. In about three years, the new technology could determine the complete genetic sequence of an unborn child. Those results could lead more prospective parents to consider terminating their pregnancies.