The report on a new type of prenatal tests designed to detect chromosomal abnormalities of unborn children from their DNA in expectant mothers’ blood calls for the ministry, academic societies and other parties concerned to establish a new steering committee.
“It has so far approved pre-implantation diagnosis, in which genes and chromosomes of eggs fertilized in vitro are examined, for limited cases including serious genetic disorders, due to criticism that the method could lead to the selection of life.”
“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.”
“…[C]oncerns have been raised about whether the quality of the counseling and other support provided to women taking the tests and their families can be secured if the tests are made available at a wider range of medical institutions, including small clinics, by easing the requirements for authorized facilities.
“The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s (JSOG) executive board has decided to allow obstetrician-gynecologists who run their own private practices to conduct blood tests on pregnant women to detect possible chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome in their babies.”