When you’re pregnant you will go through a wide range of tests to monitor your health as an expectant mother and to monitor the health of the baby you’re carrying. Some of the tests are more involved than others. In the past, mothers who needed testing for conditions like Down syndrome and other genetic disorders or chromosomal conditions had few options available to them and all of them were risky.
Today, there are NIPT testing procedures that are non-invasive. This means that instead of an amniocentesis, which involves inserting a needle into the mother’s belly in order to obtain a sample of amniotic fluid that can be tested for the baby’s DNA, and the risks it represents to the baby, you now have a much safer procedure to consider as an indicator of whether an amnio is even necessary.
How does NIP Blood Testing Work?
For this procedure, you will provide a sample of your blood (mother’s blood). Once the blood is drawn it will be studied to determine if you have an increased risk of giving birth to a child who has one of several genetic disorders. It does not screen for the disorders themselves and is not meant to replace the amniocentesis for women who are at risk for bearing a child with these conditions. It is meant, however, to reduce the need for these riskier tests and procedures in women who have little likelihood of delivering a baby with one of these disorders.
The accuracy rate for NIPT testing is impressive at 99 per cent for Trisomy 21, 98.3 per cent for Trisomy 18, and 98.1 per cent for Trisomy 13. It also measures an impressive 95 per cent accuracy rate when screening for Monosomy X. Another benefit of NIPT prenatal testing is that it can be used to screen for conditions that are quite common, but rarely included in routine prenatal screenings like microdeletions.
How common are microdeletions? They impact roughly one of every one thousand pregnancies. What is particularly concerning about microdeletions is that there is no discernable pattern to them. They affect babies of every race, nationality, and gender. The age of the mother doesn’t even seem to play a role in microdeletions. Family history also doesn’t appear to factor into the equation as this condition strikes in families with no history at all.
Aside from the reduced risk factor and peace of mind that comes with knowing that your baby is likely free of certain genetic conditions, another reason to consider the NIPT blood test is for the genetic counseling that goes along with it. You can ask questions and get answers about a wide variety of concerns you may have for the sake of your baby’s genetic health based on the rest results. Plus, if there is a negative result you will have access to the resources you need to proceed with further testing, information about specific conditions and illnesses your baby may be at risk of, and an opportunity to ask questions based on your test results.