double marker test

Many issues concerning the growth of your unborn child may come up as you get closer to the last trimester of your pregnancy. Even if some things, including the gender and specifics of the pregnancy, might not be known, your doctor might suggest testing to make sure everything is ready for your baby’s birth. The Double Marker test is one such test that involves drawing blood for a comprehensive analysis to find any anomalies in the pregnancy.

What is Double marker test?

The double marker test, commonly known as maternal serum screening, is included in the first-trimester screening. Although it cannot offer a conclusive scientific assessment, it can suggest the possibility of chromosomal abnormalities. Rather than being diagnostic, this examination is predictive. 

Pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) and beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG) levels in the blood are measured. Fetuses that are female usually have 22 pairs of XX chromosomes, whereas those that are male normally have 22 pairs of XY chromosomes. 

There are several different chromosomal anomalies, one of which is trisomy, which is caused by an extra pair of chromosomes. An additional copy of chromosome 21 causes Down syndrome, commonly referred to as trisomy 21. Additional copies of chromosomes 18 or 13, cause Edward’s syndrome and contribute to other common chromosomal abnormalities.

Pregnancies with chromosomal abnormalities may exhibit exceptional amounts of hCG and PAPP-A, according to certain indications. Blood levels are just one component of the evaluation. Instead of depending only on blood analysis, nuchal translucency (NT) scans use ultrasound to look at the translucent tissue at the back of the baby’s neck.

Why is a Double Marker Test in Pregnancy Conducted?

The dual marker test can detect chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo early on: A female fetus in a typical pregnancy has 22 pairs of XX chromosomes, while a male fetus has 22 pairs of XY chromosomes. 

However, there are very rare cases in which part or all of the body’s cells may include an extra chromosome, leading to a genetic condition called trisomy. 

Instead of the typical two copies of that chromosome, these fetuses have three copies, which may cause delays in cognitive and developmental processes. 

Trisomy causes several abnormalities, such as Patau syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Down syndrome. As a result, the mother and her unborn child may be protected by the dual marker test’s ability to identify chromosomal abnormalities.

Double marker test cost

The Dual Marker Test costs vary according to the reputation of the organization. It is also affected by the machinery’s specs, the sensitivity of the apparatus, and the accuracy of the test results. Generally speaking, the Double Marker test costs between roughly Rs 2,500 and Rs 4,000.

Source – Healthline

How is the double marker test performed?

Since the test simply needs the expectant mother’s blood sample, it may be performed easily. Usually, the following actions are necessary: 

  1. A sample of blood is taken from the arteries using a syringe. 
  2. The medical professional applies an elastic band to the arm to encourage blood vessel enlargement. 
  3. An antiseptic is used to disinfect the region after the arteries are visible. 
  4. With a little prick, the needle is delicately placed into the blood artery. 
  5. The sample is first obtained, then stored, and lastly examined.


This test carries a very low-risk profile. Rarely, a woman may get bruises, hematoma formation, increased bleeding, or infection at the site of the needle insertion.

Double marker test uses

  • To recognize and shield newborns against Down syndrome. 
  • To assess the risk of newborns having a short neck, loss of muscular mass, and excessive skin growth at the back of the neck. 
  • For the mother’s health and to verify the existence of severe mental and physical disabilities, flattened facial characteristics in babies, stunted growth, and upward-slanting eyes. 
  • Verify the trisomy of chromosome 18, as this may result in clenched fists and abnormalities in the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, and other critical organs that are necessary for healthy metabolism and body operation. 
  • To diagnose “rocker bottom feet,” a disease that causes foot deformities that resemble a rocking chair’s bottom.
  • Look for clenched fists, a bent spine, an uneven chest shape, micrognathia (abnormal jaw and mouth shape), and microcephaly (small, malformed head). 
  • To detect brain delays in neurological function and a short sternum. 
  • Diagnose expectant mothers who have an umbilical hernia.

Double marker test reports

Screen positive or screen negative results can be obtained from the above-stated test. Nevertheless, the results of the test take into account two other variables in addition to the blood samples: 

  • The mother’s age 
  • The ultrasound determines gestational age at the time of the test.

The reports display the results as ratios. Ratios between 1:10 and 1:250 are considered “screen positive” results and carry a high danger to the growing fetus as well as the mother. 

A safer result with fewer dangers is indicated by a ratio of 1:1000 or higher. For example, a ratio of 1:10 implies a high likelihood of disease development in 1 out of 10 pregnancies, whereas a ratio of 1:1000 shows a low risk in 1 out of 10 pregnancies.

The doctor could advise additional diagnostic treatments like amniocentesis if the test produces favourable results. There is a chance that the fetus will die during childbirth if the parents decide to carry on with the pregnancy after the test results are positive. 

Normal range of findings from two tests This test indicates that the normal range for Free-beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin should be between 25,700 and 2,88,000 mIU per millilitre for all age groups.

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