Prenatal screening refers to diagnostic tests that take place before birth. In prenatal screening, doctors look specifically for signs of abnormalities or hereditary diseases in the unborn child. These examinations do not form part of the set of statutory check-ups. However, if you have specific health or family-related medical risks, you should ask your doctor about the options for prenatal screening. If you agree to such testing, your doctor must inform you of the procedure, purpose, risks, significance and potential consequences before every test.
Many expectant parents may want to have a test done ‘just to be on the safe side’. However, a test result may be different from what is expected, leaving an expectant mother and her partner unprepared for making a big decision. Parents-to-be should therefore inform themselves in advance about the tests on offer and think carefully about how they might deal with an unfavourable test result. Moreover, in some cases the methods used to perform the examination may themselves pose risks to the pregnancy.
The following applies to all prenatal screening:
- During pregnancy, it is only possible to detect some of the potential impairments that may be present in the unborn child. Some diseases or disabilities may be ‘missed’.
- Often the test results are unclear, so in certain circumstances further testing may be required.
- Tests can help to detect many types of disability or developmental issues with the child. However, treatment during pregnancy is only possible for a few diseases.
- The test results usually provide little information about how severe a disease may be or which limitations a disability may cause in and of itself.
- Incorrect test results, or false alarms, are also possible.
In the case of any abnormalities, the doctor can invoice us directly for the cost of specific prenatal diagnostic tests after a detailed consultation with you and with your consent. If there is no indication of any abnormality in the child’s development, prenatal screening must be paid for by the patient as personalised healthcare services.