SAFE NIPT (10-40 Weeks)

  • Appointments every day including weekends.
  • Detailed ultrasound scan included.
  • Result in 5-10 calendar days.
  • Electronic transmission of scan to your email.
  • Optional sex determination included in the price


What is the SAFE test?

It has been discovered that a blood sample taken from the mother at any time from early pregnancy can be analysed for cell free fetal DNA, which is essentially a marker in the mother’s blood of the DNA of the baby. The result of the simple blood test (SAFE), taken at 10 weeks or later has a sensitivity for the detection of Downs syndrome greater than 99%, 92% of Edwards syndrome and 99% of Patau’s syndrome. This may reduce the need for unnecessary invasive testing by CVS or amniocentesis. This is great news for couples. It is important that an ultrasound scan is performed just before the blood test to confirm the pregnancy, and to check that the mother is not carrying twins or more. The SAFE test can be used to check twins with a detection rate of 95%, and if a vanishing twin has occurred. The SAFE test can be used if the pregnancy is conceived with donated eggs.

Why the SAFE test?

This is now one of the most accurate non invasive tests to detect the chance of a chromosomal abnormality in a pregnancy.

For the last ten years doctors have been using the results of the Nuchal Translucency Scan to advise pregnant women and their partners on their risk of having a baby with Downs syndrome, or other abnormalities. The Nuchal Translucency Scan looks at the skin fold on the back of the baby’s neck at about 12 weeks. This has been further refined by looking at the nose bone of the baby with an additional blood test to identify two pregnancy hormones. This is the combined test and has achieved a positive predictive value of about 84%. Women with a high risk Nuchal translucency scan have an option to proceed to chorion villous sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. These are invasive tests that carry a miscarriage risk of about 1:100. 

Who needs SAFE Test?

safe test in pregnancy

Anyone who wants extra reassurance about the normality of the pregnancy can have the test. Women who may need it are those who are anxious about their baby having a chromosomal abnormality such as Downs, Edwards or Patau's syndrome, older women (particularly over 40 years) and those who have already had a chromosomally abnormal pregnancy often opt for the test. Those who are at particular risk of miscarriage should they have an amniocentesis or chorionic villous sample also find the test very attractive as it avoids an invasive procedure.

How is the test done?

  • The mother has to read and sign a consent form and sign a form for data release.
  • An ultrasound scan is always done first.
  • This is a simple blood test from the vein in the woman's arm like any other blood test. There is no risk from having the test.
  • One tube needs to be fully filled.
  • The tubes are collected daily and sent to the SAFE test laboratory, St George’s University Hospital in London improving turn around time.

How long does it take to get a result?

The result is available within 5-10 calendar days, the normal turnaround time is 5 days. There is less than 3% chance that insufficient DNA is obtained. If the test is unsuccesful an offer of a repeat test is made free of charge. 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.

How is the result expressed?

The result is expressed as a probability. It is a screening test and not a diagnostic test. A result form of a low risk test is shown below. A low risk test result gives a risk of a chromosomal problem of less than 1:10000-1:1000000. A high risk result does not confirm that the baby has the chromosome abnormality. An amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling is necessary to give a diagnosis. The couple are counselled about this.

How much does it cost?

The SAFE Test costs £500. Appointments after 5pm, weekends and bank holidays incur a £50 surcharge.
Included with every NIPT is an ultrasound by one of our advanced sonographers. NIPT appointments with the Consultant incur an additional charge of £150. Please note Dr Gibb is available on Thursday afternoon's. 

What happens after the test?

Depending on how many weeks pregnant you are, you will still have the opportunity to have a 12 week scan privately or with the NHS. The focus of the 12 week scan will change as you will already have the result of the Downs syndrome test, so the 12 week scan will look at the baby in detail for structural abnormalities (these may exist without a chromosomal abnormality). You will still have the opportunity to have the later scans, such as the 20 weeks scan, as before. If the SAFE test is low risk then it is important that the person conducting the 12 week scan is aware of this. If the test is high risk then you should return to The Birth Company or a good NHS unit for further counselling.

Are there problems this test will not detect?

Yes. Structural abnormalities such as Spina Bifida, heart defects and a poorly growing baby will only be seen on scans and often not until later scans. These scans should still be undertaken.

This new test has been developed by Premaitha Limited and is processed by St Georges University Hospital


Please note in the circumstance that during your appointment an ultrasound scan is performed but we do not proceed to the NIPT, a fee of £100 (£150 for evening/weekend appointments) will be charged for the appointment only. If booked online, £400 will be refunded to you.

Please note Anticoagulation therapy (commonly known as blood thinners) can increase the possibility of receiving No Result for your NIPT. Please leave as long between administering your dose and your NIPT appointment as possible. For example, if you administer in the evening and have an early morning appointment, either change to an appointment late in the day, or refrain from your evening dose. If you administer in the morning, refrain from that dose until after your appointment. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact our team

For further information please see below:
Anticoagulation Therapy Publication


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

Baker Street
Regent’s Park
Great Portland Street


Festival Hall, Talbot Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, SK9 7HR
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Alderley Edge