8 things to know about NIPT testing

Posted on 4 May 2023

  1. What is non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)?
    Mediclinic Precise’s NIPT is a blood test performed during pregnancy that identifies whether your baby has a higher chance of having certain chromosomal conditions, such as Down syndrome. NIPT can also identify your baby’s sex accurately if you want to know it.
  1. Who should have NIPT?
    NIPT can be offered to anyone who is expecting a baby. All pregnancies have some risk for a genetic condition to occur even if there is no history of such a condition in your family. Some pregnant women have increased risks for chromosomal conditions, such as those older than 35 years. Your gynaecologist, foetal medicine specialist, or genetic counsellor can advise you on the risks specific to your pregnancy.
  1. How does the testing process work? 

    •  Your gynaecologist, foetal medicine specialist, or genetic counsellor will explain the test, including its limitations and benefits.
    •  They’ll give you the required forms for testing and provide additional clinical information about you to help with
    interpretation of the test results. This includes:
    •   how far along you are in your pregnancy
    •   whether you’re having a single or multiple pregnancy
    •   any risk factors or family history of certain conditions.
    •  You’ll receive a contact number of our closest partner laboratory to arrange the blood draw and payment for the test.

  1. What is the purpose of the test?
    As expectant parents, NIPT offers you significant insight into the health and genetic risks of your unborn baby. This information enables both you and your doctor to make informed decisions about your pregnancy, prepare for your baby’s arrival and take early interventions to optimise their care. Remember that NIPT is a screening test, so it cannot confirm or completely exclude a genetic condition. If a high-risk result is received, more tests will be needed to confirm a genetic diagnosis in your baby. NIPT cannot exclude all possible genetic conditions in your baby.
  1. Is it safe for my baby?
    Since NIPT only requires a simple blood test from the mother, it does not pose a risk to the pregnancy.
  1. How do I get my results?
    As soon as your results are available, Mediclinic Precise will send the report to your doctor. Our expert team guides your doctor in interpreting your unique genetic report and your doctor will then relay this information to you. You and your family will then receive expert advice on how to best manage your pregnancy, so you can make informed health-related decisions throughout the pregnancy and after your baby is born.
  1. What kind of conditions are screened for?
    Mediclinic Precise NIPT screens for common chromosomal conditions in the foetus:•  Down syndrome.
    •  Patau syndrome.
    •  Edwards syndrome.
    •  Sex chromosome aneuploidies – chromosomal conditions caused by the loss or gain of a sex chromosome.
    •  Optional screening for up to five microdeletion syndromes that may be missed during          routine prenatal screening – which all have significant implications for the health and          development of your baby.
  1. How early in the pregnancy can the NIPT test be performed?
    NIPT can be performed as early as nine weeks into your pregnancy. In some cases, your doctor may advise waiting a bit longer before testing.

For more information on Mediclinic Precise NIPT please visit https://www.mediclinic.co.za/en/corporate/mediclinic-precise/services/panorama-non-invasive-prenatal-test.html

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.