Prenatal testing or Prenatal diagnosis are tests done on pregnant women. They are used to test fetuses for birth defects and some genetic disorders.
Prenatal tests can be non-invasive or invasive. Non-invasive tests include things like utrasounds. In invasive tests, a needle is inserted - for example, to get a sample of fluid from the placenta).
Prenatal tests can check for many conditions, like:
- Down syndrome
- Spina bifida
- Cleft palate
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Sickle-cell disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Fragile X syndrome
In some cases, the tests are administered to determine if the parents want to abort the fetus.
In some cases, fetal screening has been done to identify things that are not birth defects. For example, in some parts of the world, if an ultrasound shows that a fetus is female, it is sometimes aborted.[source?] The rise of designer babies raises a number of ethical and legal issues.