What is the Double Marker Test in Pregnancy? Procedure & Ranges
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Pregnancy is a joyful time in a woman’s life. There may also be worries over the well-being of the unborn kid. Various tests and scans take place to alleviate the parent’s anxiety. One such diagnostic test is the double pregnancy marker test in pregnancy. So it is common for pregnant women to be anxious when advised to undertake a test they have never heard of, and the Double Marker Test is one of them.
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However, there is no need to panic or let your pregnant hormones run out of control; About these tests. We are here to provide you with all the information concerning double marker tests during pregnancy and answers to your concerns.
What Is a Double Marker Test In Pregnancy?
A double marker test in pregnancy refers to a test often administered to pregnant women to detect any chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus. Furthermore, this testing also plays a crucial role in detecting neurological disorders in the foetus, including Edwards syndrome and Down syndrome.
In a normal pregnancy, female fetuses will have 22 pairs of XX chromosomes, and male fetuses will have 22 pairs of XY chromosomes.
However, any chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus may cause severe developmental malformations and contribute to various health issues in the baby after birth. However, these abnormalities are very uncommon.
Usually, the doctor recommends the double marker test during pregnancy to women over the age of 35 and those with a family background of birth abnormalities and insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes. The doctor performs the blood test during the first trimester, often between the ninth and fourteenth week of pregnancy.
The Importance Of Double Marker Test In Pregnancy
The test is generally optional, but if you are above 35 and there is a family history of miscarriage or diabetes, your baby might have an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
It is essential to note that the result merely indicates if there is an elevated trisomy risk. Furthermore, it does not conclusively identify whether or not your child has abnormalities.
The Uses Of Double Marker Test In Pregnancy
The several uses of the Double Marker Test are:
- It helps determine the likelihood that the unborn child may develop a mental condition.
- It is mainly used to identify Down syndrome.
- The Double Marker Test may also identify Trisomy 18, which causes mental impairment and severe birth abnormalities.
- Additionally, it aids in the identification of Trisomy 21.T, which causes mental issues, cardiac difficulties, and other diseases affecting essential organs.
The Process Of Double Marker Test
So this is a blood test. The lab will collect the pregnant woman’s blood samples and examine the Beta hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin hormone) and PAAP levels (Pregnancy-associated Plasma protein).
Step-By-Step Double Marker Test Procedure
The double marker test is not compulsory. Nevertheless, it is proposed for expectant mothers who are beyond age 35 and has a high chromosomal issue.
The blood test is analysed, and an ultrasound test is known as nuchal translucency (NT) scan. It assesses the clear tissues behind the neck of your baby. The test concentrates on two markers. Free Beta HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) and PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A) are markers.
Free Beta HCG contains glycoprotein hormone generated by the placenta during pregnancy. The high level of this hormone in the body contributes to a higher risk of Trisomy 18 and Down syndrome.
PAPP-A is an important plasma protein. Low plasma protein levels also contribute to a higher risk of down syndrome.
Further, the amounts of these components in the blood will help determine whether the infant has neurological or chromosomal problems with the help of a blood test.
Apart from the blood test, the doctor may also perform ultrasonography.
Timing of The Test
The double marker test should be done within the first trimester or at the beginning of the second trimester. This is because of the blood drawn for the double marker test. The timing of the test should be between 11-14 weeks.
What To Expect After The Test?
The double marker test in pregnancy is a simple blood exam. As this is a non-fasting test, you can eat and drink before your examination unless otherwise indicated.
The test results may vary depending on the lab you choose for your test.
Double Marker Test In Pregnancy Normal Values
The findings of the Double Marker test may be broadly categorized as Positive or Negative. The findings do not definitively determine if the baby has a problem. So it just evaluates the likelihood that the infant has the disease. The results are provided in ratio form.
So a ratio between 1:10 and 1:250 will be regarded as Screen positive, indicating a strong likelihood that the baby has the condition. Further, a ratio of 1:1000 is Screen negative, indicating that the likelihood of chromosomal or neurological abnormalities in the baby is minimal.
However, this test is insufficient, and if the findings are positive, the doctor may request more testing to confirm the likelihood that the infant has a condition.
What If The Test Results Are Positive?
There are worse things in this life than having babies with a disability. It is normal to feel some concern if the test is positive. After processing the facts, however, it is essential to realize that this is not the end of the story. More conclusive and sometimes more intrusive procedures may confirm your findings, including noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT), amniocentesis, or chorionic villous sample. Even though some of these tests pose a danger to your pregnancy, they deliver conclusive results.
Since the double marker test is performed early in your pregnancy, you will have enough time to make crucial choices regarding additional testing, medical treatments, and the effective management of your pregnancy and birth.
Understanding your risk could also help you plan for the possibility of having a baby with special needs and get the necessary assistance. These children may have a regular life for the rest of us; they require a little additional attention.
The Double Marker Test In pregnancy Price
The test price varies based on city, test quality, and availability, as this test is only accessible in certain locations. So on average, the price is between 2,500 and 3,500 rupees. However, these prices are approximate only; real pricing may vary.
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Few Other Screening Tests
Genetic Screening Test
A genetic screening prenatal test is precise in searching for changes in the baby’s genes. This is because gene changes can cause genetic disorders or abnormalities. In pregnant women, genetic testing can be done through amniocentesis using amniotic fluid or through the placenta.
Maternal Serum Screening
MSS proffers the same result as a double marker screening test. It also tests for Down Syndrome, Edward syndrome, or a Neural Tube Defect l. It is usually done in the first trimester or the early part of the second trimester.
First Trimester Screening
This is another name for Double Marker Screening
Three Marker Test in Pregnancy
This is a blood test that gauges three features: alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin, and unconjugated estriol. The blood test results can help the doctor infer if the child has a higher risk of birth defects.
Quadruple Marker Test
A quadruple marker test is similar to a triple test in that it also tests for Inhibin, a hormone released by the placenta. Making it four hormones is different from the triple test, which features three hormones. This test is also to infer if the child has certain birth defects. It is done between the 15th and 22nd week of pregnancy but most accurately within the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy.
This scan is similar to the double marker test.
This test checks the blood flow of the uterine arteries. The flow of blood vessels can deduce if the child will grow to full term or not. The flow of blood vessels also determines the chances of developing pre-eclampsia (a blood pressure condition in pregnancy).
All expectant parents need to learn about their child’s health during pregnancy. Doctors propose several tests, including the double test marker in pregnancy, for this reason. So these are only markers of potential chromosomal abnormalities; they are not conclusive. Yet, it depends on the parents to determine whether or not they will take the exam. In case you are planning your pregnancy or have conceived, it is important to take care of your health, manage your health conditions, and lead a healthy pregnancy and baby. At Aastha Fertility, we are here to help you make this journey beautiful. Reach us out today.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there any risk associated with a double marker test in pregnancy?
The double marker test has no associated risks. Furthermore, this is a standard, noninvasive blood test. However, you should adhere to your doctor’s directions and contact them in case of any concerns.
2. Is a duplicate test marker mandatory?
It is not mandatory. However, assessing whether chromosomal abnormalities are a possibility or risk is recommended.
3. What if the Double Marker test comes back negative?
The likelihood of your baby experiencing chromosomal or neurological abnormalities is very low if test results are negative.