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Pregnancy: Screening

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL7157, tabled on 17 March 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the possible effects of normalising cell-free DNA, non-invasive prenatal testing techniques, in particular with regard to enabling sex-selective abortions.

Answered on

23 March 2016

There is a long established Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (NHS FASP) that prospective parents can choose whether to participate in. The UK National Screening Committee recommendation on non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) does not change the choices available to prospective parents within the NHS FASP. Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists makes it clear that women and their partners should receive appropriate information and support from a properly trained multidisciplinary team, who must adopt a supportive and non-judgemental approach.

NIPT testing as part of the NHS FASP will not be used to determine the sex of the foetus. Abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal.