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New Prenatal Tests Offer Safer, Early Screenings
New, noninvasive blood tests are being developed for expectant mothers to find out if their babies have genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, without the risks of tests available now. Scientists say new tests of fetal DNA sampled from a mother's blood can be used to screen for Down syndrome, which occurs in one in 691 live births and causes cognitive disabilities. The new blood tests could be performed as early as nine weeks into a pregnancy — earlier than the invasive amniocentesis procedure — and may be available as soon as the end of this year.