Amniocentesis vs. NIPT: Which Should You Choose?

Amniocentesis and non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) are two very different techniques that are used to check for the same thing. Both tests are usually only carried out if your medical history or the Nuchal Translucency scan suggest that there is a high probability of a chromosomal abnormality. 

Amniocentesis and CVS

The traditional method of checking for chromosomal abnormalities is amniocentesis or CVS:

  • A long needle is inserted through the wall of the abdomen and into the womb to collect a sample of the amniotic fluid.
  • Genetic material from the sample can be tested in the lab to confirm the presence of abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome.
  • Usually performed between 15 and 20 weeks.
  • Risks include infection and miscarriage in a small number of cases.

A similar test called Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is sometimes performed instead of amniocentesis:

  • Takes a sample of the placenta instead of the amniotic fluid and it can be performed earlier, usually between 11 and 14 weeks.
  • Carries the same risks as amniocentesis.


NIPT is a newer technique that is performed at The Birth Company instead of amniocentesis or CVS. A sample of the baby’s DNA is collected using a very different technique:

  • A blood sample is taken from the mother
  • Cells belonging to the baby can be extracted from the blood and analysed in the lab
  • The Birth Company perform 3 different types of NIPT Tests. The Panorama Test, The Harmony Test and The SAFE Test.
  • Can be performed any time from 10 weeks
  • No risk to the baby

We do not perform Amniocentisis or CVS at The Birth Company. However, you may be offered this elsewhere. It is important to ensure that you understand what each form of testing will involve, the risks of amniocentesis and CVS, and what the results will mean. You don’t have to have any of these tests, even if your Nuchal Translucency Scan suggests a chromosomal abnormality. It is up to you to decide whether you want more information.

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137 Harley Street, London W1G 6BF
Nearest Underground Tube Stations

Baker Street
Regent’s Park
Great Portland Street


Talbot Road, Talbot Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire SK9 7HR
Nearest Overground Train Station

Alderley Edge