I’d like to preface this blog by saying that although I think modern medicine rocks, it does not mean that I don’t believe in doing things as natural and organic as possible. I personally try to eat and live as natural, organic, safe and pure as possible. That doesn’t mean I can’t ALSO partake and benefit from modern medicine. To me there is room for it all in life and being inclusive not exclusive when it comes to health. So ya, modern medicine rocks!
Why does it rock? So many reasons but let’s focus on why it rocks for pregnancy and what’s going on that’s hot right now. First off this year is even better than last year for expectant mothers because we now have access to even more non-invasive tests than mothers that came before us. I’d like to focus on this because if you are reading this and expecting I urge you to consider looking into this new test called Chromosomal Aberration Screening which is prenatal genetic testing. It was brought to my attention by our dear family friend, Dr. Eric Topol. Check out Eric speaking on it here. This test was also recently featured in the New York Times.
What we did with this information:
Okay so first of all, because my husband and I are both Ashkenazi Jews, we knew that I needed to be tested for being a carrier of Tay-Sachs disease. The way it works is if the mother is a carrier then you check the father, but if the mother is not a carrier then you’re in the clear. Since we knew that we wanted to try to start a family sooner than later after we got married, I decided to get a full genetic panel done before we even got married. Knowledge is power people! This full genetic panel would be useful for anyone considering getting pregnant. It checks for so many things I was in shock when the report came back negative for 3 pages of weird genetic diseases I had never heard of! If you are interested in doing this I suggest you ask your OB-gyn as there are many different options available and different cultural background have different risks associated with them. It’s very good to know what your risks are and then make decisions from there with your partner.
Knowing that we had that panel done and everything checked out fine was a great start but not enough information once we found out we were pregnant. My husband began to do extensive research on the companies doing the genetic prenatal testing. What we found out was that the main options were:
We narrowed it down to MaterniT21 and Verifi until I found out that MaterniT21 won’t give the test to anyone under 35 years old. 35 seems to be the magic number with all these test mostly when it comes to insurance. It seems as though if you’re 35 and up you will most likely be able to get this test covered but if you’re not then it’s likely your insurance will deny the claim. Each company has different set ups with payment. I suggest you do your own research and evaluation of this financially. Also call your insurance and get as much information as you can from them before making a choice. We opted to go with the company Verinata that does the Verfi test.
I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for this test’s availability to me. With one tube of blood taken at 11 weeks we were able to find out with in 4 days that our fetus tested negative for the following covered by Verifi: Trisomies 21, 18, and 13; optional expansion detects sex-chromo- some abnormalities (monosomy X, XXX, XXY, and XYY) and may aid in stratifying the risk of X-linked disorders (e.g., hemo- philia, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, and ambiguous genitalia). The big one in this test is Downs Syndrome. It tests 99.9% accurate for Downs Syndrome. When my doctor’s office called with the results of this test my heart felt peaceful, grateful and relieved. All I could think is “Modern Medicine Rocks!”
I hope that in a while from now the insurance companies will start to let women get covered for these tests who are under 35. I am 34 and when we give birth will be months from 35. To me, the risk I have is the same as it would be if I were a few months older. The process is what it is right now but I really hope it changes and this test becomes much more affordable. We can only make this happen by having more women get these tests and spread the awareness about them to wake up the insurance companies! My fingers and toes are crossed on this one. For now though, I am one grateful mamma to be for that tube of blood and what my results were from it.