Japan to Ease Requirements for Prenatal Test Facilities

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Feb. 13 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology has drafted a plan to ease requirements for medical facilities to provide noninvasive prenatal testing to detect genetic abnormalities in unborn babies.

The draft plan, drawn up by the ethics committee of the society, is expected to be adopted at a board meeting in March.

The new prenatal testing to examine fetal DNA in the mother's blood has drawn criticism that it may lead to an increase in abortions. The testing began in Japan in 2013 as clinical research.

Under the current guidelines, facilities that can perform the tests are limited to those satisfying strict conditions, such as stationing a full-time genetics expert who can provide counseling to pregnant women.

The revised guidelines will designate those facilities as key institutions while introducing the concept of affiliated institutions that will be newly allowed to conduct the tests. Facilities with obstetrics and gynecology specialists trained for counseling will be designated as such affiliates.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press