HC Deb 30 March 2000 vol 347 cc217-8W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce antenatal screening for genetic abnormality, including biochemical screening for Down's syndrome; and if he will make a statement. [116731]

Yvette Cooper

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee advises the Government on all aspects of screening policy. It considers the aim of all antenatal screening to be informed choice for parents. The NSC would rarely recommend the introduction of a blanket test such as a blood test for chromosomal disorders for all or most pregnant women, but rather a specific test for a known disorder. At present, individual women who have already had an affected pregnancy or have a family history of a genetic disorder should be offered specific genetic testing and counselling. We are currently considering the Committee's recommendation to offer all pregnant women second trimester serum screening for Down's Syndrome.