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California Prenatal Screening Program

On September 19, 2022, the California Prenatal Screening (PNS) Program has launched its revised program. Going forward, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) became the primary screening test for trisomy 21, trisomy 18, and trisomy 13, replacing biochemical screening for trisomies 21 and 18.

cfDNA screening is available starting at 10 weeks 0 days and can be done throughout pregnancy. However, the PNS Program recommends that cfDNA screening take place from 10 weeks 0 days through 21 weeks 0 days so that all follow-up services can be available to individuals determined to be high risk. cfDNA screening will also give patients the option to find out the sex of the fetus. Providers can choose this option by checking a box when ordering screening. There is no additional cost for finding out the fetal sex.

In addition to cfDNA, maternal serum alpha fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening for neural tube defects will continue to be offered, now from 15 weeks 0 days through 21 weeks 0 days of gestational age.

The PNS Program will continue to provide follow-up genetic counseling and diagnostic services for participants with screen-positive results for the three trisomies or neural tube defects at state-approved Prenatal Diagnosis Centers until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

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