NIPT stands for Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing and is a relatively new method for testing for chromosome abnormalities in your developing baby. A small amount of your baby’s DNA will cross the placenta and we can test your blood for the exact number of chromosomes present.
Down’s syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality and can be detected with over 99% accuracy. NIPT can also test for Edward’s syndrome, where there is an extra copy of chromosome 18, and Patau’s syndrome, which is an abnormality in chromosome 13.
At SureScan, we can perform the NIPT test from ten weeks at the earliest. The more DNA that is present, the more accurate the test so we advise waiting until eleven weeks if possible and there is no upper limit to when the test can be performed. If there are not enough DNA fragments present to effective test, then we will perform a second, follow-up test.
Results are typically available within ten days to two weeks. This test is newly available on the NHS in England for high-risk patients, but for older mothers that are looking for more reassurance then it is possible to have the test performed privately at SureScan. Some women who have received a high-risk result from the combined test may choose to have NIPT before they commit to a diagnostic test.
The advantages of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing is that it is highly accurate, can be performed from an earlier stage in your pregnancy and there is no risk of miscarriage. However, Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing is not diagnostic and a low-risk result does not mean there Is no risk of your baby suffering from a chromosome abnormality. If you receive a high-risk result, then you will require an invasive test such as amniocentesis if you wish to be absolutely certain.