Screening Tests

Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening Test (NIPT)

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A non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) uses your blood, which contains DNA from your baby, to identify the risk of certain chromosome abnormalities in your pregnancy.

There are many companies that offer NIPT. Their products vary and therefore it is important to discuss the differences with your genetic counsellor.

 

NIPT products available through various laboratories and medical centres in South Africa include:


Harmony Prenatal Test Genesis Serenity Prenatal Test Panorama Prenatal Test

Please Note: The listing of these products is alphabetical.  GC Network (Pty) Ltd was granted permission to include information and links  for these products.


When should a non-invasive prenatal test be performed?

  • From as early as 9 – 10 weeks of pregnancy, depending on the product used, and throughout the pregnancy.

Who would benefit from non-invasive prenatal test?

  • You would benefit from NIPT if you can say yes to one of the following:
  • Pregnant women and over the age of 35 years (advanced maternal age - AMA).
  • Family or pregnancy history of a chromosome abnormality.
  • Prenatal screening has indicated a possible increased risk for a chromosomal abnormality.
  • You are concerned about your risk for a child with a chromosomal abnormality.
  • You would prefer to avoid an unnecessary invasive testing procedures.

What can the NIPT detect?

  • The result is used to determine the risk for certain chromosome abnormalities, including the sex chromosomes (X and Y).
  • Detect triploidy, the presence of three copies of all 23 chromosomes.
  • Genetic conditions called microdeletion syndromes. These are chromosomal abnormalities that result in common syndromes such as DiGeorge syndrome.

What are the limitations of NIPT?

  • It is a screening test and the result indicates risk. For confirmation an invasive diagnostic prenatal test will need to be performed.
  • The test can not determine the risk of genetic mosaicism, chromosome translocations, other structural abnormalities or specific genetic conditions
  • As with all testing there is a risk of test failure.  Factors that test result include maternal weight (high body mass index) and inaccurate dating of pregnancy.
  • Certain NIPT products are restricted to singleton pregnancies (one baby) where others can be used in twin pregnancies.
  • Certain NIPT products are not available for pregnancies where a donor egg was used for IVF, surrogacy pregnancies or where the mother has undergone a transplant.
  • Cost, as it is not funded by most health insurers. 

Please Note: There are different NIPT products available, and before making a decision you should discuss your options with your genetic counsellor.


What are the benefits of NIPT?

  • No risk to your pregnancy as it is a non-invasive test.
  • Greater accuracy compared with other screening tests. 
  • Reduces the risk of unnecessary invasive prenatal tests.
  • A negative result reduces anxiety about your pregnancy.
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