During your pregnancy, your doctor’s office, clinic, or midwife will offer prenatal genetic screening (testing) to see if your fetus has an increased chance for specific birth defects. They will also offer follow up tests if needed.
These tests are available to you only if you want them. They are provided by the California Prenatal Screening (PNS) Program. They are paid for by Medi-Cal, health plans, and most private insurance.
Prenatal screening won’t tell you if your fetus has a certain birth defect. It will only tell you if there is an average or increased chance of the health condition. It’s then up to you whether you want to have a follow up (diagnostic) test to confirm.
Diagnostic tests will give you more definite information but carry a very slight chance of complications.
While it's your decision, you should always talk to your prenatal care provider or genetic counselor about the pros and cons of prenatal screening and diagnostic testing.
The patient booklet and consent forms are available to help families understand basic prenatal screening and diagnosis information for some health conditions:English (PDF),