Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

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Also known as: cffDNA
Formal name: Cell-Free Foetal DNA Testing for Foetal Chromosomal Abnormalities

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To assess the risk of a pregnant woman's developing baby (foetus) having certain chromosome disorders, such as Down’s Syndrome. Following a large, multicentre study in the UK (RAPID study) demonstrating the benefits of the test the UK National Screening Committee (NSC) have recommended NIPT be introduced as an additional test into the existing NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme as part of an ongoing evaluation.

Please see the Antenatal Results and Choices website for more information on accessing the test privately.

When to Get Tested?

Organisations such the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis currently recommend the test but only in women who are categorised as high risk for having a baby with a chromosome disorder.

The test is most accurate during or after the 10th week of pregnancy.

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in the mother's arm. The test is termed “Non-invasive” because obtaining the sample carries very little risk to the mother or baby, unlike procedures such as Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS).

Test Preparation Needed?