Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) sometimes known as non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) is a blood test taken from a mother in pregnancy. It is a way of examining fetal DNA to determine the risk that the foetus is likely to be born with chromosomal conditions. This additional testing is not compulsory and you can choose to opt-out. It’s important that you feel supported and well informed in relation to this decision.
What Does Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing Involve?
NIPT is a simple blood test that is more accurate than the first pregnancy screening test. It is only routinely offered to women who are considered to be at higher risk.
During pregnancy, the placenta releases some of its DNA into the mother’s bloodstream which can then be measured through a simple blood test. The blood test identifies extra DNA for chromosomes 21, 18 or 13. This could mean that the child will be born with Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.
When to get Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing?
NIPT can be performed from 10 weeks of pregnancy as prior to this it is difficult to collect enough cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from the blood sample. Even after 10 weeks, there is a chance that they will not be able to collect enough cfDNA to provide a result. This happens in about 3% of cases.
The test is considered to be completely safe and will not harm either the mother or the baby. The results typically take around 10 days and do not provide a definitive yes/no answer but instead offer a probability. It is important to remember however that no screening test is 100% accurate. There are three possible outcomes from the test. These are: low chance result, high chance result or no result if there has been a technical issue with testing.
The test result may indicate that there is a high chance of chromosomal anomalies. If this is the case, then it is likely an amniocentesis will be offered to provide a definite diagnosis.
Early Pregnancy Screening
At SureScan we offer a wide range of comprehensive services that can help to support you during early pregnancy. This would include an abdominal or transvaginal scan to determine if there is a viable pregnancy. We can also organise blood tests to measure HCG levels if needed. NIPT testing is also available which can be carried out as early as 9 weeks.
We support you throughout the whole process in order to understand what the test involves, the delivery of the results and future planning and implications for pregnancy. Get in touch with us if you would like to find out more.