Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a fast growing area of prenatal care. In most cases at present, the term is used to refer to the advanced screening test for Downs, Edwards and Patau’s syndromes (trisomy 21, 18 and 13).
This type of test remains a screening test (it cannot give a definite result) but it is very much more accurate and specific than the combined test.
It uses a standard blood test, taken from your arm, and looks at the little fragments of your baby’s DNA which can be found there, to assess if there is a high chance that your baby is affected by one of these conditions.
It is often referred to as the Harmony test, since this is one brand of such tests which has been heavily advertised. There are many other brand names, but the one I offer is The SAFE test which is processed at St Georges hospital in London.
Until now NIPT has been available in some NHS Trusts, but not all. From 1st June 2021 NIPT will be offered and funded by the NHS throughout England to those who have a “high chance” result from the combined test.
Some people prefer to have the test done as early as possible (from around 10 weeks) or choose to have it done even if they receive a “low chance” calculation from the combined test.
I offer this service, visiting you at home in Sussex or Surrey at a time to suit you. The cost is currently £365 including an initial consultation, blood sampling, the lab fee and a discussion of the result. Before doing the test we discuss the information you can get from the test and what you might do as a result. In the case of a high chance result I visit you again (no additional fee) to discuss this face to face and to help you work out “what next”.
The NHS offer of testing is explained here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/screening-tests-for-you-and-your-baby/downs-syndrome-edwards-syndrome-and-pataus-syndrome-combined-or-quadruple-test-taken-on-or-after-1-june-2021