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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11811: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 4 October 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of cell-free DNA non-invasive prenatal testing techniques on (a) the medical profession’s and (b) society's attitude towards people with Down’s syndrome.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 26 October 2017

The UK National Screening Committee which advises Ministers and the NHS in all four UK countries about all aspects of screening, commissioned the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to produce a report considering the ethical values of recent and potential future scientific developments in Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). The report was published on the 1 March 2017 and concluded that women and couples should be offered NIPT, but only within an environment that enables them to make autonomous, informed choices. Any change to the existing screening programme in Scotland will take the findings of the Nuffield Report into consideration. The report can be found here: http://nuffieldbioethics.org/project/non-invasive-prenatal-testing/findings

The Scottish Government is fully committed to ensuring that pregnant women in Scotland have access to high quality, safe and effective screening services and the Scottish Screening Committee is now looking at the use of NIPT as an additional screening test for Down’s syndrome in Scotland.