Down syndrome prevention program in a population with an older maternal age

Mordechai Shohat*, Cyril Legum, Yitzhak Romem, ZVI Borochowitz, Gideon Bach, Boleslaw Goldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the effect of a relatively high proportion of pregnant women 35 years and older on the efficacy of prenatal screening for Down syndrome. Methods: We obtained information on normal and abnormal cytogenetic and maternal serum marker studies for 1990 and 1992 from all 11 public and two private cytogenetic laboratories operating in Israel. Results: In the Jewish Israeli population, 16.2-17.1% of all pregnant women are at least 35 years old. Thus, prenatal testing of all pregnant women at least 35 years old could have identified 628-665% of all Down syndrome cases. Screening by maternal serum markers would classify 9.28% of pregnancies as being at high risk for Down syndrome (greater than 1:386 at birth). The percentage of Down syndrome cases detected prenatally increased from 78 of 147 (53%) to 123 of 163 (75%) as a result of the increased use of prenatal testing from 11.3% to 19.4% of all pregnancies in 1990 and 1992, respectively. Conclusions: In a population with a high proportion of mothers at least 35 years old, as in the Jewish population in Israel, screening by maternal serum markers instead of by maternal age alone would leave the Down syndrome detection rate unchanged, but would lower the amniocentesis rate from 16.2-17.1% to 9.28%. In addition to the reduction in the expected fetal loss as a result of post-amniocentesis spontaneous abortion, this policy would also pay the cost of maternal serum marker testing of the entire pregnant population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-373
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995
Externally publishedYes


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