ACMG 2013

Noninvasive assessment of the fetal genome is now possible using next-generation sequencing technologies. The isolation of fetal DNA fragments from maternal circulation in sufficient quantity and sizes, together with proprietary bioinformatics tools, now allows patients the option of noninvasive fetal aneuploidy screening. However, obstetric care providers must become familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of the utilization of this approach as analysis of cell-free fetal DNA moves into clinical practice. Once informed, clinicians can provide efficient pretest and posttest counseling with the goal of avoiding patient harm. It is in the public’s best interest that test results contain key elements and that laboratories adhere to established quality control and proficiency testing standards. The analysis of cell-free fetal DNA in maternal circulation for fetal aneuploidy screening is likely the first of major steps toward the eventual application of whole fetal genome/whole fetal exome sequencing.