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Post # 1
Test your blood for healthy babies

Test your blood for healthy babies

Expert suggests genetic testing could reduce the number of birth defects as more than 75 out of every 1,000 live births here result in a birth defect.

Dubai - The tradition of consanguineous marriage is a cultural norm in the UAE, but for the offspring of such unions, the statistics are stark.

More than 75 out of every 1,000 live births here result in a birth defect, however, genetic testing could see this number decrease over the next five years.

Every year an estimated six per cent of total births worldwide — 7.9 million children — are born with a serious birth defect.

The result of genetic or partially genetic origin, these defects can vary in lethality, and for those who survive the disorders it can cause lifelong mental, physical, auditory or visual disability.

The practice of blood marriages in the UAE has been clinically proven to increase the risk of such defects to offspring because of the expression of autosomal recessive gene mutations inherited from a common ancestor.

In “The March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects”, the UAE is ranked sixth out of 193 countries when it comes to children being born with birth defects, with neighbours Sudan and Saudi Arabia topping the list.

However, rather than abandon a long-lying cultural tradition, it seems science has the answer.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Dimitrios Kafetzis, specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Bourn Hall Clinic in Dubai, said a large number of couples in the UAE are showing an interest in genetic testing prior to parenthood.

“We are in the golden era for this type of testing. Though consanguineous marriage is actually decreasing in this region for a variety of social reasons, it is still quite common for cousins to marry. This brings with it an increased risk of genetic conditions so what this test does is make sure the offspring is not at risk.”

Through a simple blood test, the DNA of prospective or expecting parents can be screened to look for abnormal genes that can lead to certain diseases in their baby.

Both the male and female tested can then identify whether they are carriers of certain conditions, and with the results, they can determine what risk their baby has of inheriting the genetic condition.

“We can screen for more than 650 genetic conditions that are recessive. Recessive means that each parent needs to pass along an affected gene to the baby in order for the child to be affected,” Dr Kafetzis said. If one partner screens positive for a condition but the second does not, a child will not inherit the condition, and even if both screen positive, the baby only has a 25 per cent chance of having a disease, he said.

But it is not just local couples coming forward for such testing. The increased availability of this genetic test over the past few years has seen couples of mixed nationalities opting to find out what risk their potential offspring has in regards to birth defects.

“Everyone is becoming more worried about the health of their child and this is a general concern. In a way, there is too much information available with genetics nowadays,” Dr Kafetzis said. And knowledge like this is not always blessed, he added.

“The results can put stress on a relationship and cause unnecessary worry.”

At a cost of between Dh4,000 — 6,000 per test, Bourn Hall Clinic Dubai commonly sees couples with a prior history of birth defects being tested pre-pregnancy, rather than those simply wanting to assess the risk. Of the number of couples the clinic has tested in the last year, 90 per cent had a history of live birth defects, he said.

“If a high risk is detected, many couples choose not to go ahead with a natural pregnancy and choose PGT and IVF treatment instead.”

PGT — or Pre-implantation Genetic Testing — is a state-of-the-art procedure used in conjunction with In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) to select embryos free of chromosomal abnormalities and specific genetic disorders for transfer to the uterus.

Though PGT guarantees a baby and will not inherit any genetic condition, the success rate of getting pregnant through IVF is not guaranteed.


Post # 2
RE: Test your blood for healthy babies
good information

peça reta odontologia

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