Access, quality and costs of prenatal diagnosis.

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The background risk of birth defects ranges from 2 to 5%. These birth defects are responsible for 30% of all admissions to pediatric hospitals and are responsible for a large proportion of neonatal and infant deaths. Medicine and Genetics have taken giant steps in their ability to detect and treat genetic disorders in utero. Screening tests for prenatal diagnosis should be offered to all pregnant women to assess their risk of having a baby with a birth defect or genetic disorder. Psychosocial and financial factors, inadequate insurance coverage, and the inability to pay for health care services are some of the known barriers to healthcare. These barriers are particularly magnified when there is a language barrier. From an economical standpoint it has been demonstrated that prenatal diagnosis has the potential of saving millions of dollars to our healthcare system. But when patients do not have the resources to access prenatal care and prenatal diagnosis cost shifting occurs, escalating healthcare costs. Our current healthcare system promotes inequalities in its delivery. With the existing barriers to access, quality, and costs of prenatal diagnosis we are confronted with an inefficient and flawed system.

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