ACOG Statement on cfDNA Screening and Practice Advisory

April 2, 2015

Washington, DC -- John C. Jennings, MD, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, released the following statement regarding the study on cell-free DNA screening in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM):

“The new study regarding cell-free DNA analysis offers valuable new evidence regarding this promising screening modality in prenatal care. In response to the study, ACOG has released a Practice Advisory. It is important to note that while cfDNA screening for fetal aneuploidy does continue to offer promise, we must keep in mind several important considerations. For example, screening is not the same as diagnosis; a positive cfDNA screen should still be confirmed using diagnostic testing through amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Moreover, cfDNA does not screen for all genetic conditions.

“As with all genetic testing, cfDNA screening presents the need for comprehensive genetic counseling from qualified experts about the benefits, limitations, and results of genetic tests. These results can be confusing as well as clinically uncertain, so treatment decisions should not be made solely based on cfDNA screening results.

“We are reviewing our existing Committee Opinion for any necessary updates since new data have become available. As we undertake a review of the evidence that has emerged, we will consider important data such as the NEJM study. However, as the leading organization devoted to women’s health, it is essential that our practice guidance materials reflect a thorough, careful, and thoughtful review of existing scientific literature.”

ACOG’s Practice Advisory can be found here. For ACOG’s current Committee Opinion on Noninvasive Prenatal Testing for Fetal Aneuploidy, please click here.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998