You are here

Screening Choices Tool

Screening Choices

Prenatal screening is offered to all pregnant women because of the small chance that a baby has a chromosome abnormality or other physical condition. While most women will have healthy babies, in about 1 in 25 pregnancies a baby will be born with a condition that may require medical attention. These conditions vary a lot, from very mild to very severe, and can affect physical and/or intellectual development.

Prenatal screening tests are used to identify those pregnancies at increased chance of being affected by such conditions. No single test checks for all fetal conditions and there are different types of tests available. These tests vary in how accurate they are, when they are performed and what information they give. Screening tests are not diagnostic. Women with high chance results will be offered a CVS or amniocentesis to confirm the result.

The following content has been designed to help you make decisions about whether prenatal screening may be helpful to you. All prenatal screening is voluntary. It is recommended that you are familiar with the content in the prenatal screening booklet and complete the following questions with that content in mind.

 
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Unsure
Agree
Strongly Agree
A 'low chance' screening result would be very reassuring to me.
If I receive a 'high chance' screening result, I would probably have a CVS or amniocentesis to confirm the result.
A 'high chance' screening result would make me very anxious.
Knowing about a condition before birth would help me to be prepared.
I want the option of ending the pregnancy if a condition is found.
I think that my chance of having a pregnancy with a fetal condition is low.

Your Results

 
May Not Be Useful
Unsure
May Be Useful

Based on your answers prenatal screening may not provide information that is useful to you and you can choose not to have any screening. Choosing a prenatal screening test is a personal choice and there are many different things to consider, including your personal values and beliefs.

If you would like more information about prenatal screening or would like to discuss your options with someone, you can contact your health care provider or arrange to speak to a genetic counsellor in your area. Contact details for genetic counsellors across Australia can be found here.

If you believe it may still be useful, please continue below.

It looks as though you may be unsure as to whether prenatal screening would provide information that is useful to you. Choosing a prenatal screening test is a personal choice and there are many different things to consider, including your personal values and beliefs.

It might be best to discuss your prenatal screening options with your health care provider or a genetic counsellor. Contact details for genetic counsellors across Australia can be found here.

If you believe prenatal screening may still be useful, please continue below.

It looks as though prenatal screening may be useful to you. Choosing a prenatal screening test is a personal choice and there are many different things to consider, including your personal values and beliefs. Continue answering the questions below to determine which screening test would be appropriate for you.

The prenatal screening tests available to you are dependant on how many weeks pregnant you are.

Are you less than 14 weeks pregnant?

At less than 14 weeks, you can choose between combined First Trimester Screening (cFTS) and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) (also known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing or NIPT). Remember, these are screening tests only. If you receive a high chance result, a CVS or amniocentesis will be offered to confirm the result.

Below are some questions that will help clarify what characteristics are important to you in a screening test.

There is no right or wrong answer. These questions are simply designed to help you think about two screening test options.

At more than 14 weeks, you can choose between Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening (2TMSS) and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) (also known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing or NIPT). Remember, these are screening tests only. If you receive a high chance result, a CVS or amniocentesis will be offered to confirm the result.

Below are some questions that will help you clarify what characteristics are important to you in a screening test.

There is no right or wrong answer. These questions are simply designed to help you consider your two screening test options.

 
Not at all Important
Not Important
Unsure
Important
Very Important

Detection rate  

One test will pick up 90 out of 100 pregnancies affected by Down Syndrome, and miss 10. The other test will pick up 99 out of 100 and miss 1. How important is this difference to you?

One test will pick up 80 out of 100 pregnancies affected by Down Syndrome, and miss 20. The other test will pick up 99 out of 100 and miss 1. How important is this difference to you?

False Positive Results  

Screening tests sometimes give a high chance result when the pregnancy is actually unaffected. This is a false positive result. Women who receive a high chance screening result will be offered further testing (CVS or amniocentesis) to confirm whether the baby is affected.

With one test, 3 women out of 100 will receive a false positive result. With the other test, only 1 woman out of 100 will receive a false positive result. How important is this difference to you?

Screening tests sometimes give a high chance result when the pregnancy is actually unaffected. This is a false positive result. Women who receive a high chance screening result will be offered further testing (CVS or amniocentesis) to confirm whether the baby is affected.

With one test, 8 women out of 100 will receive a false positive result. With the other test, only 1 woman out of 100 will receive a false positive result. How important is this difference to you?

Cost

One test will cost less than $200, whilst the other will cost at least $400. How important is this difference to you?

One test will cost between $0-$100, whilst the other will cost at least $400. How important is this difference to you?

Conditions

I want to know about as many conditions as possible (not just Down Syndrome)?

Your Results

 
CFTS
2TMSS
Unsure
cfDNA

From your answers to the questions above, it appears as though the combined First Trimester Screening (cFTS) test would be most appropriate for you.

From your answers to the questions above, it appears as though the cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening test would be most appropriate for you.

From your answers to the questions above, it appears as though the Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening (2TMSS) test would be most appropriate for you.

From your answers to the questions above, it appears as though either screening test may be appropriate for you.

Please refer to the table below for a summary of the two prenatal screening tests available to you.

Test
Characteristics
combined First Trimester Screening
(cFTS)
Second Trimester Maternal Serum Screening (2TMSS)cell-free DNA screening (cfDNA)
(Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing NIPT)
Type of testMaternal blood test + ultrasound scan @ 12 weeksMaternal blood testMaternal blood test
Approximate out of pocket cost$70-$200$0-$100$400-$500
Timing of the testBlood @ 9-13 weeks
Ultrasound @ 11-13 weeks
14 weeks or more10 weeks or more
What can be identified?Trisomy-21, Trisomy-18, Trisomy-13, physical problems on ultrasoundTrisomy-21, Trisomy-18, neural tube defectsTrisomy-21, Trisomy-18, Trisomy-13, sex chromosome conditions, sex of baby
Detection Rate
(Trisomy-21 only)
90%75-80%99%
False positive rate
(Trisomy-21 only)
3-5%7-8%Less than 1%
Turnaround time for test results2 working days
(from date of ultrasound)
4 working daysMinimum 3 working days
(up to 10 days if sent overseas)

For more information about prenatal testing you can contact your GP, obstetrician, genetic counsellor or midwife.

If you have any questions or feedback please send an email to screeningchoices@mcri.edu.au

If you would like to complete these worksheets again, please click below.