June 22nd 2019
TOKYO –Japan’s health ministry plans to create a panel on noninvasive prenatal testing as early as this summer, informed sources said Saturday. It will be the first time in 20 years for the ministry to launch a committee for discussing prenatal testing-related measures.
Noninvasive prenatal tests are designed to check blood samples from pregnant women to detect possible chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome in their babies.
Depending on the test results, some mothers may be forced to decide whether to give birth or terminate their pregnancy. With the new panel, the ministry aims to discuss specific conditions necessary for carrying out the new prenatal tests, in the wake of a surge in the number of facilities conducting such tests without adequate counselling against guidelines set by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.