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We already know that as the mother's age advances, the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome increases.Click here to see a table of these risk values.) For example: Let's say the test results come back in the typical range for a pregnancy not associated with Down syndrome (that would be 1.0 Mo M for all components).This result reduces the woman's risk of having a child with Down syndrome four-fold.(This four-fold number is based on clinical studies, and is standard.) If the woman is 25, this decreases her risk from 1 in 1100 to 1 in 4400.

Recently, another marker called PAPP-A was found to be of use even earlier.

However, research in the last 6 years has concentrated on finding a way to screen in the first trimester to enable parents to have time to make choices when given the results of a positive screen test.

The first trimester screen now uses a combination of the maternal age, the serum quadruple screen, the serum marker PAPP-A, and an ultrasound measurement of the back of the neck of the fetus.

Now, let's take the example of the test results coming back with the levels normally associated with a pregnancy of a child with Down syndrome.

This increases the risk by four-fold (again, this is a standard number). So, the age of the mother is still the most important aspect when determining the blood screening test's result.

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