Double Marker Test and Triple Marker Test FAQs

With me getting pregnant now, the last pregnancy in my close family dates back to some five years back. So even though we do remember the basic things we had done then, the finer details of all the medical observations and follow ups had become faint. Just then we heard of this term we had never heard before – Double (Or Dual) Marker Test and Triple Marker Test.
These are blood tests they ask you to do on the completion of eight weeks and twelve weeks respectively.
What do they do?
Basically this is a detailed blood test following a sonography done in that period to detect any chromosomal defects in the child.
What exactly is a double marker test?
It is a blood test to check whether your child is having any symptoms of the Down Syndrome.  This test is also called the Trisomy 21 test because it checks on the presence of the extra part in the Chromosome 21. All these are medical terms – but if I had to give you a visual reference you will understand better. Children with this disorder look like in the picture below.
Image Source
Image Source
What exactly is a triple marker test?
Again this is a similar blood test – which studies the chromosomes in further detail (the ones that have developed in these weeks) and check whether the baby is suffering through any of the following genetic disorders:
1. Down Syndrome
2. Edwards Syndrome – This is again a chromosomal disorder caused by an extra Chromosome 18. And the characteristics of which are a multiple physical defects in the body – kidney, heart breathing difficulties and growth deficiency.
3. Neural Tube Defect – In this case there is some malformation or an opening of sorts either in the brain or the spinal cord (Anencephaly and Spina Bifida)
How does doing these tests help?
Even while finding these references online, I dread thinking what if any of my tests showed any of these defects. How would have I felt? And how would have been that life of my child if he/she would have born like that?
Basically these tests tell you whether the baby inside fits in the ‘HIGH RISK’ category or the ‘LOW RISK’ category. High risk means more chances of the baby having that particular defect. And low risk means mostly everything should be normal (because they still can’t give a hundred percent guarantee)
What then happens is that parents and the doctors gauge the High Risk situations – do further tests if need be – and then take the appropriate call of how to go about with the pregnancy and the child.
How much do these tests cost?
As you read above – these are highly detailed test and do come at a price. Though it is not compulsory that everybody has to do them – but it is advisable that people do go for it. And once you read above what they help us know – I believe – rightly so!
Are their any side effects?
Not anything particular – they take out blood in the same way as they would have for probably checking diabetes or thyroid. So no side effects as such!
I haven’t got them done, should I worry?
If you haven’t got them done – there is nothing you can do about it. Not that people didn’t deliver when these tests didn’t exist. And most probably everything is going to be fine. These are rare genetic disorders. So please do not stress and panic. Be positive and everything will be just perfect!!
My tests show high risk, what should I do?
This is a highly sensitive decision to make in life. And I or anybody else other than you, wouldn’t be able to make that decision on your behalf. Discuss it with your partner, family and doctor in detail and decide your course of action. All the Best.
Disclaimer: Though you have read this post on my blog – please do not dwell on it for too long. Or search the net for more pictures and information. It can only disturb you – seeing those images and reading those experiences. So please leave it to that. You need to feel good at this point! No need to stress! No need to let any negativity surround you!


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