Non-invasive prenatal testing or NIPT is a new screening test that can be performed during pregnancy to check for certain chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. It’s important to understand how these tests are performed and what they can tell you about your baby so that you can make informed choices about your care. Here are the key things that you should know about non-invasive prenatal testing.
How is the Test Performed?
Non-invasive prenatal testing is a special type of blood test. It is performed the same way as any other blood test. You may already have had a blood test at your antenatal appointments before you visit us for NIPT, so this procedure is probably quite familiar to you.
Are There Any Risks?
Non-invasive prenatal testing is just as safe as any other blood test that you have during pregnancy. Since it is a non-invasive test, there aren’t the same risks as with amniocentesis or CVS. Your baby won’t be affected at all by the test.
What Can NIPT Screen For?
The three main conditions that are screened for during NIPT are:
- Down’s syndrome
- Edward’s syndrome
- Patau’s syndrome
You can test for other abnormalities such as Microdeletions and sex chromosomes. The sonographer can discuss this with you at your appointment.
How Accurate are the Results of NIPT?
Non-invasive prenatal testing is a screening test, not a diagnostic one. This means it can tell you if your baby is at higher risk of specific conditions, but it can’t confirm that your baby is definitely affected. However, the screening results are extremely accurate, especially for Down’s syndrome
NIPT can detect more than 99% of babies with Down’s syndrome. If you were to receive a ‘High risk’ result we would suggest having an amniocentesis or CVS to confirm.
The detection rates for other conditions vary between tests. If you get high risk results during non-invasive prenatal testing then it is important to discuss them with an experienced doctor or genetic counsellor.
How Can I Arrange NIPT in the UK?
Anyone can have NIPT in the UK at any time after 10 weeks
. You can book an NIPT appointment at a private clinic. We recommend arranging your non-invasive prenatal testing before the nuchal scan so that you can get your results as early as possible.