Birth Defects Testing
Deciding About Testing
The decision to have a test for birth defects is personal. You have to think about your age, your chance of passing on a family disease, your need to know about any problems, and what you might do after you have the test results. Your spiritual beliefs and other values also may play a role in your decision.
Some birth defects—such as a Reference cleft lip Opens New Window or Reference cleft palate Opens New Window or certain heart problems—can be fixed with surgery after birth and sometimes even with surgery during pregnancy. Some other defects cannot be fixed.
Reasons to have tests
You may decide to have the tests because:
- You would think about whether to continue the pregnancy if there is a birth defect.
- You have a family history of an illness such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, or hemophilia. For more information on cystic fibrosis testing, see the topic Reference Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Screening.
- You have insurance that will pay for some or all of the cost of the tests.
- You need to know whether there might be a problem, because not knowing would make you worry.
- You want to learn all you can about caring for and raising a child with a certain birth defect.
- You would want to plan what hospital and doctors to work with to make sure that all of your baby's needs are met.
Reasons NOT to have tests
You may decide not to have birth defects tests because:
- You would continue the pregnancy no matter what the tests show.
- The screening test may show a problem even though your baby doesn't have the problem. You would be worried while you wait for the test results.
- These tests can't find all possible problems.
- You are worried about the risk of Reference miscarriage Opens New Window. Both CVS and amniocentesis have a small risk of miscarriage.
- Tests can be expensive. You may not have insurance, or your insurance may not pay for the tests.
For more help on deciding about tests, see the topics:
- Opens New Window Pregnancy: Should I Have the Maternal Serum Triple or Quadruple Test? Opens New Window
- Opens New Window Pregnancy: Should I Have an Early Fetal Ultrasound? Opens New Window
- Opens New Window Pregnancy: Should I Have CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling)? Opens New Window
- Opens New Window Pregnancy: Should I Have Amniocentesis? Opens New Window
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics