You can have NIPT from 10 weeks into your pregnancy, but how long will you have to wait to get your results?
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing or NIPT is a special type of blood test that you can have while you are pregnant. The test can screen for certain kinds of genetic abnormalities that might be affecting your baby. The three main abnormalities that are screened for during NIPT are Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. Different types of NIPT may screen for different abnormalities, so it’s important to compare the options so you can have the most appropriate test.
The test works by detecting fragments of placental DNA that are circulating in your blood. The placenta is genetically identical to your baby as both are formed from the same fertilised egg. It’s possible to tell which chromosome each fragment of DNA comes from. If there is more material that expected from a particular chromosome, then it means that there is likely to be an extra copy of that chromosome.
We usually have 23 pairs of chromosomes, but sometimes there can be an extra copy of one of these chromosomes. When this happens, it can cause abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. By checking for extra copies of the chromosomes, NIPT can accurately detect which babies are likely to have these abnormalities. The detection rate for Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes are all more than 99%. This means that the tests will be able to identify more than 99% of babies who are affected by these conditions.
When we perform an ultrasound scan, we’ll usually be able to provide the results right away. We can tell you how much your baby has grown, whether you’re expecting a boy or girl, and if there is anything else you need to know. However, some tests can take a little bit longer. Sometimes this is because the test will screen for additional conditions, but it can also happen if there are any issues with your sample.
If you are having NIPT then you will need to come in to the clinic to provide a blood sample. It’s just like having any other blood test, so you’ll probably be familiar with the procedure. We’ll perform an ultrasound scan at the same time as your NIPT blood test, so we’ll be able to give you some information about your baby right away. However, the NIPT results won’t be available immediately.
As soon as we have your blood sample, we’ll send it to the lab to be tested. The lab will work hard to get your results back as soon as possible, but it will take time to process and analyse the sample.
In order to get your results, it will be necessary to:
The results of NIPT can be back in as little as three days, but it can take up to two weeks in some cases. The time it takes can depend on many things, including how much DNA was collected from your blood sample and the number of different issues that the test is screening for.
Generally, you should expect to get the results back within about:
The Panorama test takes a little longer, but it can test for abnormalities that aren’t detected by the other types of NIPT. You should ask your doctor for advice on which test is right for you. It might be better to wait a bit longer for the Panorama test results if you need the extra information that it can provide. However, one of the faster NIPT tests could be a better choice if you are only interested in screening for Down’s, Patau’s and Edward’s syndromes.
Most people should get their results back within the expected time, but there is a small chance that the test might need to be re-done. For example, if the lab isn’t able to collect enough DNA from your sample, you might need to give a new one. In some cases, it might be possible to perform the test, but it could take a little longer than expected to get the results. However, most people should hear back in about 3-8 days.
When you get the results back, they will tell you if your baby is a higher or lower risk of each of the conditions that we screened for. In most cases, the results will confirm that your baby is at low risk. However, there is a chance that the test could reveal that your baby is at high risk of a particular condition.
If you get a high risk result then it’s important to talk to one of our consultants or to another doctor about what it means. The NIPT results can tell you if your baby is likely to be affected by a specific condition. A doctor can explain how this condition might affect your baby. You may also want to arrange a diagnostic test such as amniocentesis to confirm the result.
Although NIPT can’t give you instant results, it can still give you some important information about your baby’s health. Waiting to get the results can be worrying, but you can always talk to your doctor if you are concerned and you shouldn’t have to wait too long. It’s also important to remember that most people will get low risk results.
Do you have any tips to help others who are waiting for their test results?
' Professional and reassuring 'Helen Campbell
The sonographer was ready as soon as I arrived, and she was extremely calming, personable and professional. The scan and blood test where efficient without feeling rushed and all very easy. These appointments can feel uneasy and make you feel anxious but I felt reassured and in professional hands the whole time
I saw Kate throughout my first pregnancy and am now doing so again with my second. She is absolutely amazing, she explains everything really clearly, and has answered all sorts of bizarre questions and worries I have had. On top of being clinically excellent she is also just the loveliest person and always a pleasure to see.Sarah Elliott
We had the harmony test with the Birth Company and had a reassurance scan with sonographer Kirsty McGarry who was absolutely lovely and really put our minds at rest. We had been scared by our NHS dating scan and left feeling like there was something wrong. We explained the situation and was treated very professionally and with good care. Also speedy appointments also as I had phone in the morning and got an appointment by afternoon. So thankful.Ashley and Tom
Really friendly, efficient service. Great experience overall. Had the Panorama. My appointment was with Kate who was absolutely fantastic. The results came really quickly. Have a comparison with private healthcare elsewhere and must say that The Birth Company was just how I would like to be treated when I pay for medical services - attentively, calmly, friendly, in a pleasant environment that doesn't look like hospital. Top marks!Anna
' Efficient, friendly and always on hand to provide last minute appointments 'Anna s
The Birth Company has been excellent, providing timely scans and blood tests during my IVF treatment abroad. Staff are always friendly and extremely efficient. I would highly recommend coming here.
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When I first contacted the Birth Company I spoke to Danielle. She was fantastic. She went above & beyond to put me at easy & make the journey from Kent as stress free as possible. Every staff member that myself and my husband have come into contact with have been approachable, professional and friendly. Kate scanned me the first time and put me completely at easy. Lisa on reception is professional and very approachable. Highly recommended
' Highly recommended 'Emelie
Donald was so lovely! I was so nervous as I have a bad history and he was super quick and confirmed my baby's heartbeat as quickly as he could. He spent time showing me the baby and the anatomy and it was the best money I have ever spent! The reception girls were lovely too - considering they deal with babies day in day out they were super excited for me! Thank you so much one and all! If only I lived in London and could have all my scans with you!
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