First Trimester Screening
Fertility Clinic Vancouver
A first trimester screen is a non-invasive method of identifying any risks of certain chromosomal abnormalities. We strive to help couples fully understand the options involved in this procedure.
First Trimester Screening (FTS) was developed largely through the work of the Fetal Medicine Centre, London, UK and the pioneering ideas of Professor Kypros Nicolaides. Since 1990, Nicolaides has been targeting research towards the early detection of genetic syndromes, in methods which involve examining the baby at an early stage in its development (the end of the first trimester, or 11-14 weeks). Since its inception, new discoveries have been added to the original finding of Nuchal Translucency (NT), and now provide the highest detection rates of any genetic screening tool.
The four most common chromosome problems include Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edward syndrome), Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome), and 45X (known as Turner syndrome). All of these disorders affect the baby's development and range in severity from very mild to severe.
In the process of FTS, 5 markers are used to statistically assess the chance of one of the syndromes. These markers all fall under a quality review program through the Fetal Medicine Foundation, to ensure reproducibility, and global uniformity of testing. The markers include:
NT - Nuchal Translucency
Blood work for PAPP-A and fbHCG (proteins in the mothers blood)
NB - Nasal Bone
FHR - Fetal Heart Rate
DV - Ductus Venosus Flow
The combination of all six provide a 97% likelihood of detection, with a 3% risk of a falsely positive result. Full fetal anatomy is also reviewed for major defects.
Unique to IVF facilities, PCRM offers an in-house Genetic Counseling program. Our breadth of services related to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, prenatal diagnosis, First Trimester Screening, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine requires a careful and planned genetics assessment.Learn More About Genetic Counseling
Emerging technologies over the last 25 years have afforded us the possibility of being able to screen pregnancies for a variety of conditions. Prior to the emergence of screening, complicated pregnancies were often undiscovered until full term. The goal of all prenatal screening is to provide the expecting mother with as much information as possible, in an effort to optimize pregnancy outcomes.Read More About Guide to Pregnancy
Sometimes, the worry about a healthy pregnancy can take away from the joy of actually being pregnant. PCRM is here as a resource to women and their families, and if you have questions about any screening options, please contact the First Trimester Program at any time at 604 422 7276:
Ursula Durland, Genetic Counselor
Dr. Ken Seethram, Program Director
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is a revolution in prenatal testing
- Measures fetal DNA in the mother’s blood
- Among the highest detection rates of any risk free prenatal screen
- Available starting at 10 weeks of pregnancyRead More About NIPT Non-invasive Prenatal Testing
In some circumstances, patients wish to proceed directly with amniocentesis, rather than undergo screening. This process is not insured in BC, however, in many countries, it is insured to have amniocentesis on demand. With amniocentesis, a doctor uses ultrasound guidance to place a very thin needle into the uterus. A small sample of fluid from around the baby is taken and sent for chromosome analysis. Amniocentesis is almost 100% in its ability to detect major chromosomal defects, but has with it a small risk (1/100 to 1/200) of inducing miscarriage.Learn More About Amniocentesis