Today, prenatal testing can help pinpoint your unborn child’s risk to a number of genetic conditions. NIPT or non-invasive prenatal testing is a modern form of prenatal testing that does not harm the mother or child. NIPT involves a simple blood test that can be performed as an outpatient procedure in any doctor’s office. Blood for this test is collected from a vein in the mother’s arm. The DNA from this blood sample is then studied in a laboratory to look for signs of abnormalities. These results are them compared to your first trimester ultrasound results to determine if further testing is required.
There are a number of advantages to this form of testing
- Highly Accurate: NIPT results are said to be accurate in 99% cases. This clears doubts about chromosomal abnormalities and helps parents to be deal with problems in their unborn children. For example, NIPT testing can be used to diagnose problems like Down syndrome. NIPT also decreases the need for other forms of invasive prenatal testing.
- Safe: NIPT is noninvasive and does not harm the health of the baby or the mother. Since it involves only a simple blood test, it does not cause pain or discomfort either. It also has no connection to miscarriages. Pregnant woman above the age of 35 and those who have had an ultrasound showing an increased risk of aneuploidy or those who have a history of trisomy can benefit from this form of pre-natal testing. The only known alternative to this form of testing involves withdrawing DNA samples from the amniotic sac with the help of a needle. This form of testing can result in a miscarriage in rare cases.
- Comfortable: Unlike prenatal tests that require precision while withdrawing DNA from the amniotic sac, the NIPT requires far less expertise. This makes women much more comfortable undergoing this form of testing as compared to the other.
- Early Diagnosis: With prenatal testing parents do not have to wait till a baby is born to find out if he or she suffers from any genetic complications. NIPT can be scheduled as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy and hence gives the parents enough time to prepare themselves to deal with the issue if any.
However, you should remember that NIPT cannot be used to replace diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis. Also, it does not detect all chromosomal abnormalities. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an IVF Specialist.