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CDPH Expands California Prenatal Screening Program Panel April 1

March 29, 2024
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California will now screen for additional genetic conditions and birth defects

What You Need To Know: Beginning April 1, all pregnant women participating in the California Prenatal Screening Program will be screened for additional genetic conditions, allowing them greater access to more information on the health of their fetus. ​

Sacramento – The California Department of Public Health announced the expansion of the California Prenatal Screening (CA PNS) Program to include additional conditions on the screening panel beginning April 1. The statewide program is offered to all pregnant women in California to detect potential genetic conditions and birth defects in their developing fetus. California is the only state providing voluntary, standard-of-care prenatal screening to all individuals. Medi-Cal and private insurance generally cover all program fees and covered families do not have any out-of-pocket costs.

“All pregnant women in California deserve access to the highest-quality prenatal screening and we’re excited to be able to offer more information about the health of their pregnancy,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás Aragón. “We are committed to working with our partners to ensure follow-up services are available at no additional cost to participants.”​

The program currently screens for genetic conditions including Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 and 13, and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Due to patient demand and new clinical practice guidelines (PDF), beginning April 1, additions to the state cell-free DNA screening panel will include sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs) – also referred to as X and Y chromosome variations. These include:

  • Turner syndrome (only one X chromosome)
  • Klinefelter syndrome (extra X chromosome)
  • XYY (extra Y chromosome)
  • Trisomy X (three X chromosomes)

As with all screening programs, follow up confirmatory tests would be needed for pregnant women who screen positive for SCAs. The CA PNS Program will provide genetic counseling and authorized follow-up services for participants at no additional cost. 

Bigger Picture: The expansion of California's Prenatal Screening Program helps protect and promote the health of Californians and is just one of many efforts the state and Governor Gavin Newsom are undertaking to address affordability and improve health outcomes for all Californians. Additional initiatives include the Governor's Master Plan for Kids' Mental Health (PDF, 3.6MB), the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI), launching the Office of Health Care Affordability, expanding access to Medi-Cal, and transforming Medi-Cal through CalAIM, among others.

For additional information on the Prenatal Screening Program, visit cdph.ca.​gov.

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