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What substances does a quad marker screen measure?

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In a quad marker screen, a blood sample is sent to a lab and tested for the presence of four substances, which are normally found in the baby's blood, brain, spinal fluid, and amniotic fluid:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP): A protein produced by the baby's liver and other organs
  • Unconjugated estriol (UE): A protein produced in the placenta and in the baby's liver
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG): A hormone produced by the placenta
  • Inhibin-A: A hormone produced by the placenta

From: Pregnancy and the Quad Marker Screen WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano on September 19, 2016

Medically Reviewed on 09/19/2016

SOURCES: The March of Dimes.  , "Second trimester maternal serum screening for fetal open neural tube defects and aneuploidy." American College of Medical Genetics, 2004.


Deborah A. Driscoll, MD

Reviewed by Trina Pagano on September 19, 2016

SOURCES: The March of Dimes.  , "Second trimester maternal serum screening for fetal open neural tube defects and aneuploidy." American College of Medical Genetics, 2004.


Deborah A. Driscoll, MD

Reviewed by Trina Pagano on September 19, 2016

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What can the levels of the different substances measured during a quad marker screen mean?

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