Quadruple marker test, also known as the Quad screen or simply the Quad test, is included in the second-trimester prenatal screening that is typically done between weeks 15 and 20 of pregnancy. The quad screen test derives its name from the fact that it measures the levels of four hormones found in all pregnant women’s blood:
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) – a protein that is made by the developing baby
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) – a hormone that is made by the placenta
- Estriol – a hormone that is produced by the placenta and the baby’s liver
- Inhibin A – another hormone that is produced by the placenta
The quad test is done to evaluate the risk of carrying a baby who has any of the following conditions: Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18), Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Spina bifida and Anencephaly.
The quadruple marker screening test is a routine prenatal screening test. The test poses no risk of miscarriage or other pregnancy complications. The quadruple marker screening test is voluntary. Test results only show whether you have a higher risk of carrying a baby with Down syndrome, not whether your baby really has the condition. If the risk level is moderate or high, you have the option to follow the quad test with another test that’s more conclusive.
Before opting for additional testing, it is important to consider whether any strain caused by it may be worth it. Would you take the risk of choosing a more invasive follow-up test if screening tests come positive? How would you handle the results and would you manage the pregnancy differently based on a positive result
Before you consider taking any action on the basis of prenatal screening, make sure that an experienced physician or genetic counsellor at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital has evaluated the results and you have had the opportunity to discuss it with them.