Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Genetic Counseling Key to Effective Testing

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Genetic Counseling Key to Effective Testing

Article excerpt

The expected start of prenatal diagnostic tests using blood analysis in Japan has raised hopes for domestic advances in genetic analysis through the application of technology from the United States. However, there are concerns that the spread of noninvasive methods of prenatal testing could result in neglected efforts to provide counseling for pregnant women.

Prenatal diagnostic tests were launched domestically in April last year as clinical research. During six months of testing, more than 90 percent of pregnant women opted for an abortion when their unborn children were diagnosed with disorders.

Though abortion itself cannot be blamed, many problems must be investigated, such as whether genetic counseling to support parental decisions worked properly or whether counseling for pregnant women who chose to abort their unborn child, which can entail a significant physical and mental burden, was adequately provided.

The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines stipulate that one of the reasons for starting the test cautiously on a research basis is that no such blood analysis system is available in Japan. Some observers say that if the current project is realized, use of the test will spread and become a general practice. …

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