NIPT is offered by a variety of brand names by private clinics across the UK. The Genesis Genesis Serenity® prenatal test and the Ariosa Harmony Test are now processed in the London laboratories of Genesis Genetics and The Doctors Laboratory.
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a screening method which uses maternal blood and can provide early, safe, and reliable answers about the chromosomal health of a developing baby—minimizing the need for riskier invasive procedures. The test involves a simple single tube blood draw from the pregnant woman’s arm to determine whether a pregnancy has certain chromosomal conditions. Non-invasive prenatal tests are safe and pose minimal risk to mother or baby.
In comparison to other screening options, non-invasive prenatal testing provides more reliable results with a higher accuracy than traditional serum screens, and does not carry the risk of complications that an invasive procedure can have.
Tests looks for too few or too many copies of chromosomes in the mother and baby, or babies in the case of twins. Missing or extra copies of chromosomes are referred to as aneuploidies. Trisomies occur when three, instead of the usual two, copies of a chromosome are present such as in Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), and Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome). Testing can also look for other conditions caused by missing or extra copy of chromosomes called sex chromosomes (X and Y). Aneuploidies in these chromosomes may cause mental or physical disabilities, with varying levels of severity
Always be mindful that no biological test can guarantee a baby will not have any medical issues. In the case of a positive result, genetic counselling will be provided. It is recommended that no irreversible clinical decisions should be made based on these screening results alone. Further follow up testing such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis may be advised by your healthcare pofessional
There are a number of different NIPT tests and not all tests are the same. Examples of tests include the 'Harmony test' and the 'Serenity test' by Genesis Genetics, the 'NIFTY' test and the 'Panorama' test. Some screening tests require more than one visit to a clinic, multiple blood draws, and ultrasound examinations at various stages of the pregnancy. Results from some of these screening tests are limited to a “risk score” (such as 1 in 500 or 1 in 50) that describes the chance of the pregnancy having Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).
Having considered the individual test accuracies, test performance including failure rates, method of reporting and speed of result turn around we currently recomend the Serenity NIPT test by Genesis Genetics or the Harmony Test by Ariosa.