Prenatal testing for Down syndrome in the Jewish and non-Jewish populations in Israel

B. Davidov, B. Goldman, E. Akstein, G. Barkai, C. Legum, H. Dar, Y. Romem, A. Amiel, H. Cohen, G. Bach, Z. Appelman, M. Shohat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present work evaluated the efficacy of a prenatal diagnosis program in which amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling were offered free of charge to all pregnant women in Israel aged ≥37 years. The number of Down syndrome (DS) live births that occurred during the period of the program (1978-92) was correlated to the prevalence of old maternal age (>35 years) and the utilization of prenatal test in the Jewish and non-Jewish populations in 1990 and 1992. It was noted that in the Jewish population there was a slight increase in the DS live birth rate, from 1.05 in 1978, to 1.37 DS cases/1,000 live births in 1987, which corres ponded to an increase in the prevalence of older pregnant women, from 8.0% in 1978 to 14.8% in 1987. Thereafter, however, there was a continuous decline, to 0.71 DS cases/1,000 live births in 1992, as a result of increased acceptance of prenatal testing by women ≥37 years (67%) and, recently, also by younger women (from 5.6% in 1990 to 14% in 1992). In the non-Jewish population, there has been a very low acceptance rate of prenatal testing (23.3-16.1% in women ≥37 years and 0.36-0.63% in women <37 years). As a result, a very low prenatal detection rate (8-16% of all DS cases) and a high prevalence of DS live births (1.4 cases/1,000 live births) were observed. We suggest that a unique genetic counseling approach is required in the non-Jewish population to improve prenatal DS prevention in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-633
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume30
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic villus sampling
  • Down syndrome
  • Pediatrics
  • Prenatal testing

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