About 70% of birth defects were preventable and could be diagnosed through prenatal tests, said consulting gynecologist and infertility specialist from Jabalpur Dr D’pankar Banerjee during a seminar held on In Vitro Fertlization here on Sunday.
The trend of marrying late after ones 30s and excessive consumption of medicines lead to abnormalities in foetus and genetic disorders such as Down syndrome can be averted through routine check-ups, Banerjee added.
He also said there are more than 4,000 different kinds of structural, functional and metabolic birth defects, ranging from minor to serious ones that cause disabilities or require medical or surgical treatment. Though it is dif ficult to detect chronic diseases, a detailed investigation of blood, body tissue, amionetic fluid and a high resolution ultrasound are required.
Therefore these investigations should be done between 12 and 20th week of pregnancy, he added. According to the Banerjee, 99% Indian parents avoid birth of such babies and prefer to go for abortion.
However, in the West, the government provides an option to bear expenses on the babies, he added. He said he has received several cases of sickle cell anaemia from Mandla and thalassemia minor from Bhopal and Jabalpur districts of the state. Every 9-10 out of 100 pregnant women were not aware that their foetus was suffering from such critical diseases because of some genetic disorders or deficiencies in them, he added.
According to March of Dimes (MOD) global report on birth defects, 7.9 million births with serious defects occur every year across the world and 94% of these occur in the middle and low income countries. In India, out of every 1,000 births, 61 to 69 have defects, the report added.