A Triple Marker Test is a blood test for pregnant women in the prenatal stages between 15-18 weeks. The purpose of this test is to screen any possibility of neural tube defects, Down syndrome, or chromosomal syndrome (fragile X syndrome) in the developing foetus.
Overview of the Triple Marker Test
Triple Marker or Triple Screen test is a pregnancy test that analyses the development of the foetus inside the womb. Doctors usually recommend this blood test to examine any risk factors or genetic abnormalities. A Triple Marker test in pregnancy detects any neural tube defects and classifies a foetus as high risk or low risk for chromosomal abnormalities.
These defects include conditions like -
- Spina bifida: A condition in which the baby’s spinal cord fails to develop or close properly while in the womb.
- Anencephaly: A condition wherein the baby is born with an underdeveloped brain or an incomplete skull.
The Triple Screen or Triple Serology test screens the serum or blood levels of the three markers mentioned below.
- AFP, or Alpha-fetoprotein, is a protein that is present during fetal development. Certain conditions can make a baby’s body release high or low amounts of AFP, which could indicate potential genetic disorders such as spina bifida, chromosome abnormality, or Edwards Syndrome.
- HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the cells of the placenta during pregnancy. Low and high levels of this hormone in the blood can indicate potential pregnancy issues, like molar, multiple or ectopic pregnancies, or can include a possibility of miscarriage.
- Estriol is one of the estrogen hormones that regulate and rise during the pregnancy to support the uterus and keep the unborn baby healthy. Low levels of this hormone can indicate fetal demise or genetic hormonal disorders like Down syndrome.
Triple Marker Test Normal Values & Results
When the values of AFP, HCG, and Estriol are determined through the test, it is then evaluated with standardised data. This standardised data is made by taking many factors into account, like ethnicity, culture, region, and factors related to pregnancy. It allows for a false positive rate of up to 5% in the results, yet the test remains one of the most crucial tests to determine the risk of genetic disorders.
Finally, the values of AFP, HCG, and Estriol are compared with normal values of Triple Marker in pregnancy. A ratio is then calculated to look for any signs of the current pregnancy having a genetic abnormality.
When is the Triple Marker Test Prescribed?
A medical professional would typically recommend a time for the Triple Marker test in the second trimester, which is from week 13 to the end of week 26, to analyse the serum levels of AFP, beta-HCG, and estriol.
Pregnant women are advised to have a Triple Screen test to reexamine the findings of screenings within the first trimester. This test is highly advisable for:
- Women above the age of 35.
- Having a history of genetic disabilities in the family.
- Are diabetic or use insulin or any medication for diabetes.
- Highly exposed to radiation.
- Have a severe case of viral infection during pregnancy.
Time Required for Triple Marker Test Report + Next Steps
The cost of the Triple Marker test administered during the second trimester of pregnancy is quite reasonable at Max Lab. Although the price of the Triple Marker Test may vary according to the city, it has been kept most affordable for everyone. You can avail of an at-home serum collection service if you book from Max Lab. The Triple Marker test report is easily accessible and downloadable within 24 hours of sample collection. Your Triple Marker test results should be consulted with your doctor. It will help you analyse the condition and decide the next steps appropriately.