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Population Screening Act: Training sonographers to perform a first-trimester anomaly scan

The first-trimester anomaly scan can detect congenital anomalies of the foetus. In preparation for the nation-wide scientific study into the first-trimester anomaly scan, the regional centres for prenatal screening have developed a training programme for sonographers. Part of the training programme involves a skills training course, in which pregnant women participate for training purposes. Prior to this training course, an experienced trainer performs a first-trimester anomaly scan on the pregnant women, to avoid any risk of congenital anomalies being detected during the training course itself. This preliminary first-trimester scan is subject to a mandatory permit requirement under the Population Screening Act (WBO). The Health Council’s Committee on Population Screening advises the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport to grant a permit for this first-trimester anomaly scan, subject to two conditions. Firstly, women may only participate in the training course if the imaging obtained during the preliminary first-trimester scan was adequate and, secondly, only if they have been properly informed.