At your first prenatal appointment, your doctor will discuss the tests available to monitor the health and development of your baby throughout your pregnancy. Some of these tests, like an ultrasound, are standard in every pregnancy but other tests, including genetic screening, are decided by the patient on a case by case basis.
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) can determine the chances of your baby being born with a common chromosomal condition such as Down syndrome, with no risk to you or your developing baby. Although it is a newer option, the benefits of the NIPT are quickly making it popular amongst expecting women.
However, since the NIPT is a newer option, there are a few misconceptions about the test. One of those misunderstanding centers around the screening process itself. Most pregnant women don’t realize just how easy and safe the test is. Unlike diagnostic prenatal tests like the amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), mums-to-be can understand their risks without any harm to their babies.
The NIPT process is easier than you think. Here is what you can expect:
After discussing the test with your doctor, contact our genetic counsellors who will explain the entire procedure and answer any of your questions, they will assist you in finding the closest collection center to you. If there are no collection centers close by, our counsellors will direct you to a medical professional who can collect your blood sample and ship it to our lab for screening.
A small sample of your blood from your arm will be collected for the test. Besides a small pinch from the needle, there are no risks to worry about.
The blood sample is then sent to our state-of-the-art laboratory in Bangalore. Our geneticists complete the screen by analyzing the fetal DNA on advanced genetic sequencing machines to determine if there are any chromosomal abnormalities. Patients will receive their personalized reports detailing the findings within just 10-15 days, giving you more time to make decisions moving forward.
Your doctor will help you understand your results and answer any questions you may be having about the outcome.
Our certified genetic experts are available before, during and after your test to discuss your available options and what your next step should be.
Who Should be Screened?
Every woman expecting a baby should be screened as per professional society guidelines. As more people are realizing just how easy the test is from start to finish the NIPT is on track to become a standard prenatal test. Being proactive about your baby’s health now will give him or her a better start at life after birth. Though all women should take the steps to ensure their baby is developing normally, there are some cases where it is extremely important to be screened. If you are expecting a baby and you or your partner have a family history of chromosomal conditions, it is especially recommended that you are screened. It is also recommended if you have had multiple miscarriages, already have a child with a genetic disorder or suffer from one yourself. Additionally, women over 35 should consider the NIPT because they are at a higher risk of having a baby with a chromosomal disorder.
Other Benefits of the NIPT
There are more advantages to non-invasive prenatal screening than just how quickly and easily your baby can be tested from chromosomal abnormalities. You can be screened as early as 9 weeks into your pregnancy, giving you and your partner ample time to explore your options and make decisions regarding your results. It is also over 99% accurate in detecting chromosomal defects which can lead to the development of genetic conditions including Down syndrome, Patau syndrome and Edwards syndrome.
With the help of advanced technology and dedicated genetics, we now have the ability to learn more than ever before about our babies’ genetic health. A simple blood test can provide insights about how they are developing physically, mentally and emotionally, giving us the power to prepare for our futures. Ready to take the first step? Contact one of our genetic counsellors today.