07-06-2010 Foliumzuur bij zwangerschap


Subject: To raise awareness of the possibilities of preventing Neural Tube Defects by ensuring adequate levels of folate to women of childbearing age during preconception and early pregnancy

Question: In Europe more than 4500 pregnancies are affected by a neural tube defect every year. Between half and three-quarters of NTD pregnancies are medically aborted. Surviving infants in the majority of cases will have severe lifelong disabilities. Yet most NTDs are preventable. Research indicates that up to 70% of cases can be prevented by ensuring adequate levels of folate to women of childbearing age during preconception and early pregnancy. Also some other malformations like congenital heart diseased and cleft lip can are preventable by adequate levels of folate.


The European Commision recognised NTDs as one of the few preventable rare diseases in the 2008 Communication on Rare Diseases: Europe´s Challenges. Yet progress in reducing NTDs in Europe remains disappointing, according to EUROCAT, the EU funded registry for Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies. One of the reasons is that in most countries more than 50% of pregnancies are said to be unplanned.



1. Did the Commission take note of the disappointing results?



2. Does the Commission acknowledge and support the need for an adequate level of folate for women of childbearing age during preconception and early pregnancy?



3. Is the Commission willing to start implementing awareness raising campaigns to reduce NTDs? If so, in what way? If not, why not?



4. Is the Commission willing to encourage member states to include NTDs and other congenital malformations into their national rare disease action plans and to monitor their implementation? If not, why not?



5. Does the Commission agree that it is important to redouble efforts to reduce the incidence of NTDs through a concerted effort to raise folate levels at the right time to all women of childbearing age? If so, in what way?

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