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Blood Test to Spot Ectopic Pregnancy
A blood test for ectopic pregnancies which could help save the fertility of thousands of women is being developed by scientists.
It would enable the life-threatening condition to be diagnosed within a day, instead of the several weeks it takes for tests to come back now.
This would allow doctors to intervene earlier to save reproductive organs which are often severely damaged by the condition.
Ectopic pregnancies occur when the foetus implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. The baby can never be saved, but if the condition is not diagnosed in time it can also be fatal for the mother – there are about five such deaths in Britain every year.
About one in 80 pregnancies is ectopic, rising to one in 60 in women over the age of 30, but the number of cases has trebled in the last 20 years. Experts believe this is due to the trend of delaying motherhood.