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Double marker test is suggested for women above 35 years of age who carry a high risk of delivering a child with Downs syndrome. This test helps in the detection of pre-birth conditions of the fetus and is usually done after eight weeks of pregnancy and up to fourteen weeks.
There are a number of tests that a pregnant woman is recommended to undergo. Some of the tests are highly necessary to ensure the right health condition of both mother and baby. Other tests are generally recommended by doctors if they seem to suspect any problems or future issues related to pregnancy. The double marker test falls under the category of such type of tests.
In this article, we will look at:
- What is a double marker test?
- Why is the double marker test done?
- How one should prepare for the double marker test?
- How double marker test is performed?
- How is the double marker test result interpreted?
- What are the normal values of the double marker test?
- What are the disadvantages of double marker test?
- What does the double marker test cost?
The double marker test is a type of blood test. The goal of the test is to check for any anomalies that might be present in the chromosomal development of the baby. If a baby has any abnormalities in the chromosomes, it can result in serious health conditions and disorders. This can affect the baby’s growth within the womb, or even later in life. If there are chromosomes that can be the causing factor, one can know in advance about the presence or possibilities of certain disorders like Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and so on. This article gives you complete details about the double marker test. (1)
There are various reasons why the double marker test is recommended. We have listed some of the reasons down below:
- The double marker test is a proven test that has had a considerable amount of accurate detections in case any issues or abnormalities are present.(2)
- In case the results of the test are positive, further diagnostic procedures or measures can be undertaken to find the problem.
- Doctors frequently recommend an advanced test to check if there are chances of the baby having Down’s syndrome.
- If the test is conducted earlier and positive results are obtained and a neurological condition is diagnosed, one can choose to terminate the pregnancy without complications, during the early stages of pregnancy.
The double marker test is a blood test. There are not any specific preparations that one needs to do before this test. In case someone is on any medication during pregnancy, it is best to let the doctor know about it. In rare cases, one might be advised to stop taking the medication until the test is done. (3)
The double marker test procedure is quite simple. It is basically a blood test that is combined with an ultrasound. First, the blood samples are acquired, and then it is observed to check for two major elements, hormone, and protein. The hormone is the Free Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin which is developed during pregnancy by the placenta. The other protein is termed as PAPP-A, which stands for Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein A. This is another highly important protein for pregnant women. (4)
The double marker test results usually fall into two categories, screen positive and screen negative. These results are a consequence of many factors like the blood tests, the age of the mother, the age of the fetus as observed during the ultrasound. All of these factors are combined together while developing the result of the test. Women older than 35 years have significantly higher chances of their fetus developing neurological disorders as against younger women. (5)
The result of the double marker test is presented in the form of ratios. If the ratio is between 1:10 to 1:250, it is termed as a “screen positive” result which lies in the high-risk zone. A ratio of 1:1000 or above is termed as “screen negative” result which shows a low risk.
These ratios are pointers for understanding the probability of a child suffering from any disorder. If the ratio is 1:10 that means 1 child out of 10 pregnancies has a chance of developing a disorder, which is quite high. If the ratio is 1:1000, it means 1 child out of 1000 pregnancies will have the disorder, which is very less or negligible. In case the double marker test results turn out to be positive. Based on the ratios, the doctor might recommend undertaking further diagnostics, mainly amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
The double marker test normal range in the results is given as follows:
Free Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin
|All Age Ranges|
25700 to 288000 mlU per ml
There are also some disadvantages of the double marker test. We have listed here some of the disadvantages of the double marker test:
- The accuracy of the double marker test result is majorly a factor of the doctor’s skill set and the equipment used to carry out the processing. (6) (7)
- The double marker test cost is also quite expensive. Therefore, it may not be reasonable for every person to go for the test. That's why doctors recommend these tests only when it seems to be important.
- These tests are not available in all the cities of the country due to high costs and equipment needs. To conduct a specific test one might require traveling to another city and doing the needful.
The double marker test cost depends on many factors. It can vary across cities and hospitals. The least double marker test cost is Rs. 1000 and the higher end can go up to even Rs. 5000 or so. The average price across many cities tends to be around Rs. 2500. (9) (10)
In pregnancy, one wants nothing more than ensuring that their baby turns out to be healthy and ends up leading a normal life as much as possible. For this purpose, the most important factors are taking the right diet, adhering to good lifestyle choices, and making the right efforts to keep the indented mother and the baby safe and secure. Even after following all the recommended instructions, the test results could point towards the presence of a disorder in the baby. In such cases, it is necessary to have a discussion with the respective spouses and work out a solution for future parents to understand if they would want to have the child or not. Terminating the pregnancy is always an option but the focus should be on ensuring the best outcome of the situation.
Hope this article was helpful to you in getting all the necessary information about double marker test. We, at Ela, would be happy to help you in getting all the necessary information on infertility issues. To know more or to solve any query about any infertility related issue, you can call on the given number: +918929020600.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES:
- ^ Screening Tests in the First 3 Months of Pregnancy Healthywa.wa.gov.au, 28 August 2019
- ^ Screening Tests for Down's Syndrome in First Three Months Cochrane.org, 28 August 2019
- ^ First Trimester Maternal Serum Screening Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 28 August 2019
- ^ Screening Tests in the First 3 Months of Pregnancy | Healthy WA Healthywa.wa.gov.au, 28 August 2019
- ^ Screening for Down Syndrome Womenandinfants.org, 28 August 2019
- ^ Prenatal Screening Using Maternal Markers | MDPI Womenandinfants.org, 28 August 2019
- ^ Screening Tests in the First 3 Months of Pregnancy Healthywa.wa.gov.au, 28 August 2019
- ^ Birth Defect Screening Tests Performed During the 2nd Trimester Webmd.com, 28 August 2019
- ^ Triple Test | Wikipedia En.wikipedia.org, 28 August 2019
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