The pregnancy test that can predict twins – or even a miscarriage?

Scientists are working on pregnancy tests that could reveal all sorts of information about your just-conceived baby's health. But would you want to know?

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These days, when you pee on a stick, you’re only expecting one result: pregnant or not. But British scientists may have found a way to go one step into the future, by analysing the proteins in your urine to predict all sorts of details about the pregnancy you’ve only just found out about.

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The research team at MAP Diagnostics claim their new test can predict your chances of a successful birth, a miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, or Down Syndrome – as well as whether you’re carrying twins (or triplets).

“We want to inform parents of their potential success of having a healthy child,” Stephen Butler, founder of MAP Diagnostics, told New Scientist magazine.

But is this just too much information for us to take on at such an early stage in our pregnancy? And, most importantly, how accurate will it be? 

What we know so far

The research is in its early stages and the tests have only being performed using a small mass spectrometer, rather than a stick pregnancy test. And it’s also worth mentioning that the scientists have only tested the protein profiles of 121 women (who were between 6 to 10 weeks pregnant). So, this research is really in its infancy.

However, there are plans to extend the study, on a much larger scale, by testing an additional 10,000 samples.

We’re probably a long way off actually being able to physically buy a pregnancy test like this for home use but there is a strong possibility – if the researchers’ initial findings are anything to go by – that it will become a reality at some point in the future.

What the experts say

“A test for miscarriage risk would be useful, but only if it were extremely accurate,” says Zev Williams, Director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. “You wouldn’t want a lot of women being unnecessarily stressed or falsely reassured.” We agree.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to know all this extra info or do you think it would only make you worry more in your pregnancy’s early weeks? 

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