- Our Specialist NIPT Sonographers are highly trained experts, with extensive experience of Non Invasive Prenatal Tests cfDNA and early, mid pregnancy and advanced fetal anatomy scans
- Performed from 10 weeks of pregnancy
- Can be performed before or after the 12 to14 week Nuchal Translucency scan or the 20 week anomaly scan
- NIPT cfDNA Results in 3-14 calendar days
- All of our appointments include an Early Fetal Ultrasound Scan, Early Anatomy Ultrasound Scan or Anomaly scan (dependent on gestation at time of appointment) by our Specialist Sonographers
- Same day and short notice appointments available, including morning, afternoon, evenings and weekends.
- Our Consultant is available to discuss your results
- Prenatal test counselling and your questions answered
- Baby and Parents-to-be focused care
- We offer longer appointment times as routine- more time for baby, more time for you
- Committed to advances in pregnancy care
- The latest ultrasound technology and software
- Electronic transmission of scan images and videos to your email via YourBabyScan
- Option to include the sex of your baby
Non Invasive Prenatal Testing is currently the most advanced non-invasive pregnancy screening available for parents who would like to determine if they have a low probability or high probability for their baby having the conditions Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome. NIPT is available from as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy, for early screening before the NHS Nuchal Translucency scan. NIPT can be performed after the NHS 12-14 week Nuchal Translucency Scan, or even in the mid term of pregnancy after the 20 week anomaly scan.
What is Non Invasive prenatal testing?
It has been discovered that a blood sample taken from the mother from 10 weeks of pregnancy onwards can be analysed for cell free fetal DNA (cfDNA), which represents a sample of the fetal-placental DNA, dervived from placental trophoblasts, in the mother’s blood.
This prenatal screening method involves taking a safe blood sample from the mother’s arm. There is no increased miscarriage risk to your baby from having this simple, safe maternal blood test. The cell free fetal DNA (cfDNA) which is present in the mother’s blood is then analysed, the results determine if there is a high probability or low probability of the baby having one of the three screened conditions; Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. These conditions are also known as Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13.
NIPT can be used in twin, singleton donor and surrogate pregnancies. You can also choose to find out the sex of your baby by looking at baby’s chromosomes, this is optionally included in your NIPT. In some circumstances it may not be possible for the NIPT to report on the sex of your baby, such as Vanishing twin pregnancies.
Non-invasive prenatal testing is available from several different laboratories across Europe, China and the U.S.A. The Harmony NIPT is processed and analysed for The Birth Company by The Doctors Laboratory ( TDL) in London. The Panorama NIPT is processed and analysed for The Birth Company by Natera inc. in the USA. The SAFE Test NIPT is processed and analysed for The Birth Company by St Georges University Hospital in London.
There are other NIPT providers available including Neobona, Maternit21, Verifi and Serenity. The laboratories process and analyse cfDNA, however they use slightly different methods of analysis.
Why chose Non-Invasive Prenatal testing?
Parents to be who wish to find out the likelihood that their baby has one of three chromosomal conditions; Down’s syndrome (T21), Edward’ syndrome (T18) or Patau's syndrome (T13) choose NIPT. This prenatal test can be performed two weeks earlier than the NHS 12-14 week Nuchal Translucency screening.
Tiny structures inside your baby’s cells called chromosomes carry the genes that determine how your baby develops. There are 23 pairs of chromosomes per cell, however changes may occur during the production of sperm or egg cells which can lead to your baby having an extra chromosome. Although babies with Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 are born to mothers of all ages, maternal age does increase the likelihood of the presence of these conditions. NIPT analyses the cffDNA in the maternal blood, to determine if there is an increased likelihood that your baby has an extra chromosome present. Downs Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome and Pataus Syndrome are spectrum conditions varying from mild to severe presentation.
The Nuchal Translucency screening offered by the NHS determines a background chance based on maternal age. From the maternal age of 35 years of age onwards this background chance increases substantially. This increases the likelihood of receiving a high probability result from the Nuchal Translucency screening. Due to the limitation of the Nuchal translucency screening, this lowers the positive predictive value (PPV) of the test, meaning that those over 35 are more likely to receive a high probability result, even if the baby does not have the condition.
NIPT has a higher positive predictive value than the Nuchal translucency screening. This means less high probability results where the condition is not actually present. We do not use the term false positives, as these are screening tests therefore they do not determine positives or negatives. They offer likelihoods, from low to high.
NIPT is particularly recommended for those over 35 years of age, parents to be who have had a high probability result in their current or previous pregnancy, or a confirmed chromosomal condition in a previous pregnancy. It is for those who wish to avoid unnecessary invasive testing, which carries a risk of miscarriage.
How long does it take to get a result?
- Results take from 3-14 calendar days depending on the day of week/time of day the sample is taken or if the lab need to perform further analysis on your blood sample. Results take an average number of 7 days.
- As soon as The Birth Company receives the laboratory results, we will call you to explain them before emailing you a copy to keep in your maternity notes. Our team are in the clinic until from 8am to 8pm daily, and Saturdays and Sundays. The laboratory portals are checked throughout the day, but we do tend to receive most results in the late afternoon
- In rare circumstances the result can take longer than 14 days. We understand it can be a stressful time waiting for results and we will endeavour to communicate any delays to our patients as soon as we receive information from the laboratory.
What results can I expect from my Non-Invasive Prenatal Test?
- The NIPT report will determine whether you have a low probability or high probability for Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome or Patau’s Syndrome (Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13). This can be particularly reassuring if you have received a high probability Nuchal translucency scan.
- If you receive Low probability results, the likelihood of your baby having each of the conditions is less than 1 in 10’000. This means that we would expect less than one baby to be born out of ten thousand births with the condition Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.
- If you receive a High probability result, this will specify which trisomy there is a high probability of your baby having. This does not confirm that your baby has this condition, as this is a screening test only. Please note that the positive predictive value (PPV) for NIPT varies between Downs syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Pataus Syndrome and with maternal age. The PPV for Downs syndrome varies from 1 in 2 babies confirmed to have the condition to 9 in 10 babies confirmed to have the condition, therefore prenatal counselling and further investigation is recommended. During pregnancy, the only method available to diagnose if the condition is present is invasive testing such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.
- Due to the nature of the test, there is a 3% chance of receiving No Result from your NIPT blood sample. This is not a low probability, nor high probability. In most cases it is suitable to offer a redraw of the sample free of charge, including an ultrasound scan. The chance of receiving a screening result on the second draw is 50%. No Result is increased by maternal weight greater than 85kg.
- If you have selected the option of finding out the sex of your baby, this will also be documented on the NIPT report.
Example NIPT Reports
> Low Probability Harmony Example Report
> High Probability Harmony Example Report
How much does NIPT cost?
There is the option of three different Non Invasive Prenatal Tests (NIPT) at The Birth Company; Harmony Test, Panorama Test and Safe Test, costing from £500 each. Harmony NIPT is the most preferred option by our patients. This is due to the samples being processed in London, meaning results are received on average within 7 days (Please note in some circumstances results can take longer).
Appointments after 5pm, weekend and bank holiday appointments incur a £50 surcharge. Included with every NIPT is prenatal screening counselling, a detailed ultrasound scan performed by one of our Specialist Sonographers, and comprehensive support for NIPT results.
NIPT appointments with our Consultant Dr Gibb incur an additional charge of £150. Please note Dr Gibb is available on Thursday afternoons.
What happens after the test?
If the NIPT is low probability then it is important that the person conducting the 12 week scan or 20 week pregnancy scan is aware of this. If the test is high probability then you should return to The Birth Company or your NHS Fetal Medicine Unit for further counselling.
Pregnant women are offered two routine ultrasound scans during pregnancy within the NHS, this is called the Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme. www.gov.uk/topic/population-screening-programmes/fetal-anomaly
Depending on how many weeks pregnant you are, we recommend you take the opportunity to have a 12 to 14 week pregnancy scan privately or with the NHS. The focus of the 12 week scan will change as you will already know if you have a low chance for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. The 12 to 14 week pregnancy scan will look at the development of your baby in detail, our Sonographers are highly trained to perform early fetal scans and early fetal anomaly scans. These specialist private pregnancy scans and NHS scans look for structural conditions (these may exist without the presence of a chromosomal condition).
The other routine pregnancy scan offered by the NHS is around 20 weeks of pregnancy called the Anomaly scan. The purpose of this ultrasound scan is to assess your baby’s physical development and to look for 11 rare conditions, including head/brain and heart conditions.
The 20 week anomaly scan is a very important ultrasound scan during pregnancy.
More information about Downs Syndrome can be found here:
Downs Syndrome Association
More information about Edwards' syndrome and Patau's syndrome can be found here:
More information about screening tests offered in pregnancy can be found here:
Screening Tests for you and your baby
Screening Tests for your and your baby translated versions
For more guidance with prenatal screening please contact Antental Results and Choices:
Are there problems this test will not detect?
Yes. Structural conditions such as brain, face, stomach, kidney, bladder and limb conditions, aswell as Spina Bifida. Poor growth and development will only be demonstrated on ultrasound scans, often not until the second and third trimester. We always perform a detailed ultrasound scan when you attend for an NIPT. After your NIPT if you would like further reassurance that your baby is developing and growing well, our Specialist sonographers are trained to perform early anomaly scans from 16 weeks of pregnancy.