Ensure a healthy future to your child with newborn genetic screening
When the health gives us a sudden setback, we end up saying “if we would have known it earlier”. Thanks to the excellence of medical science that has made it possible to sense a number of things before they get worse. Newborn Genetic Testing is one such miraculous achievement of medical science that can throw light on your child’s vulnerability for a few defined diseases.
What is newborn genetic testing?
A newborn genetic screening involves the study of genetic codes of a newborn child to identify the genetic pattern that could lead to certain diseases or hereditary conditions later in the life. It looks for developmental, metabolic, and genetic disorders in the newborn.
Early detection of these conditions enables physicians and parents to take adequate preventive and clinical measures to manage, treat, and intervene the progression of certain disease and allow the child live a normal life.
In Indian scenario, newborn screening can really help a lot in improving the health condition of children who are the future adult generation.
Facts and Current Scenario in India
- 50% of world’s newborns are from India
- Blood marriages allowed in India result in many inherited syndromes like Leukemia, sickle cell anaemia, cerebral palsy, diabetes type 1, autism, multiple sclerosis and more.
- 6 to 10% of Indian consanguineous marriages lead to genetic transmission of diseases.
- Cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anaemia, haemophilia, and thalassemia are the commonly diagnosed diseases in Indian Newborns.
- Most disorders are single-gene disorders which, if diagnosed early, can be managed very well.
Benefits of newborn screening
Babies look normal at the time of the birth, even if they carry any genetic disorder to be revealed later in life. Many times, the signs and symptoms develop at a stage when they become irreversible and the ill effects cause lasting damage to the child. It should be mandatory to identify such genetic coding in a newborn to take step on time and prevent the upcoming damage, as much as possible
- Prevents a number of metabolic diseases that can go undetected in your baby and pose threat later in life.
- One-time cost that averts or reduces long term financial burden of morbidity caused due to metabolic disorders.
- Undetected disorders can lead to mental retardation or physical disability which can be minimized with early treatment initiation.
“Newborn genetic testing helps in early detection of metabolic or genetic diseases or high risk for the same, so that early medical intervention can be initiated to avert metabolic crisis and prevent irreversible neurological or developmental problems.”
How is new born screening done?
The genetic tests for new born are done within 24 to 48 hours after the baby’s birth. During this period, mostly the newborn remain in the hospital. However, the test can be performed within a week or two also after taking a pre-appointment with the doctor.
The test is done by taking blood sample from the heel of the child after pricing it. It can also be collected from nerve at any other location but extreme expertise is needed for the sample collection.
Concluding words: All the babies should be screened at the time of birth no matter they look healthy or weak. It has become a part of standard care at many high-end hospitals in India, however, it is not at all implemented at the mass level in the country. Informed parents should choose to get it done for their child and generate awareness on it so that everyone can get benefited and ensure healthy child in the present and the future.