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A new test developed by researchers from Columbia University in New York City may help pregnant women learn if their developing fetus is at increased risk of miscarriage.
The test is called the Short-read Transpore Rapid Karyotyping (STORK), and it’s a less expensive, less time-consuming test than those that use samples collected from standard prenatal tests.
The samples come from tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
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The study was led by scientists at the Columbia University Fertility Center and Columbia University Irving Medical Center — and is supported by the National Institutes of Heath.
The test, currently awaiting authorization from the New York State Department of Health, would detect extra or missing chromosomes.
“Overall, the study shows that STORK is comparable to standard clinical tests and has many advantages,” the NIH noted in a press release.
“STORK is faster, providing results within hours versus several days,” the NIH also said.
“It is also cheaper, with the study team estimating STORK to cost less than $50 per sample, if 10 samples are run at the same time, or up to $200 if a sample is run on its own. STORK can also be done at the point-of-care for a patient, eliminating the need to ship a sample to a clinical laboratory.”
It could also be used to assess embryos produced via in vitro fertilization before they are implanted, HealthDay News noted.
A Connecticut wife and mother who suffered one miscarriage told Fox News Digital, “This would be so helpful in terms of really making yourself take it easy if you are at greater risk.”
“For example, if this test comes back as a high-risk for miscarriage, maybe you take time off from work, or reevaluate your commitments outside of work and the home,” she added.
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Current prenatal genetic tests cost thousands of dollars and take days or even weeks to deliver results — adding to the stress, both emotional and financial, of fertility treatment and pregnancy, noted eMedNews.
Currently, genetic testing is only recommended if a person has had multiple miscarriages, but STORK can be offered after a single miscarriage, the same outlet reported.
“We are developing the most advanced technologies to solve some of the most ancient of afflictions — infertility and pregnancy loss,” said one of the study’s leaders, Zev Williams, MD, Ph.D., according to Science Daily.
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Williams is an associate professor of women’s health and chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Columbia University.
“Our hope is that this test will help improve women’s health, lower costs and improve access to treatment,” Williams continued.
Testing 218 samples, the researchers found that STORK had an accuracy rate of 98 – 100%, the NIH said. In another set of 60 samples, STORK agreed 100% with results from standard clinical testing.
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The Connecticut mom said that anything that helps alleviate “the sorrow of a miscarriage” is welcome.
“I can’t imagine women who have had to endure multiple miscarriages,” she said. “If this can help a baby survive in the womb, I hope the results continue to be positive.”
The study’s authors say that STORK “may be particularly useful in identifying genetic causes of miscarriage.”
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“Currently, professional societies only recommend genetic testing if a person has had multiple miscarriages, but an easy, cost-effective test like STORK can potentially be offered after the first miscarriage. STORK can also be used to streamline the IVF process,” said the NIH in its press release.
It adds, “More work is needed to validate STORK, but if results continue to show promise, STORK could improve the quality of reproductive healthcare.”