NIPT Test: Everything You Need To Know

Knowledge is power, especially during pregnancy. A simple blood test can give you and your doctors valuable insight into your baby’s genetic health and more. 

As an expecting parent, you want to learn as much as you can about your bundle of joy, and your doctor will want to know even more to ensure that your pregnancy runs smoothly and your baby is born healthy and happy. One way to provide your doctor with some of this important information is through Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing, or NIPT/NIPS.

What is NIPT?

What is NIPT?

This is a prenatal screening test which looks at DNA from your baby’s placenta via a sample of your blood to determine if your baby is at risk of developing a genetic disorder. NIPT screening does not, however, determine 100% that a baby has a genetic disorder – instead it offers data on the likelihood of the baby having a genetic disorder. Based on the findings in an NIPT screening, further testing may be recommended by your doctor.

What exactly does NIPT screen for?

The NIPT screens for the following common genetic disorders along with your baby’s RH Blood type, and gender:

  • Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome)
  • Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)
  • Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)

 Is the Non Invasive Prenatal screening mandatory?

NIPT screening used to only be required for all high-risk pregnancies. Today, this screening test is highly recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for all pregnancies. However, just because it’s recommended does not mean it is required. The NIPT screening is ultimately up to you, and you should receive guidance and counsel from your doctor’s office around the test itself and the information that’s shared with you once it’s completed. You should never feel pressured to take any non-mandatory test, and should only participate when you feel you’re informed enough to proceed.

How is NIPT/NIPS screening done?

NIPT screening is completed as a simple blood test anytime after you’ve reached the 9 week mark in your pregnancy. The NIPT screening itself is non-invasive and completely safe for you and your baby, it’s as routine as getting regular bloodwork done. However, if the results from the NIPT/NIPS screening do flag potential probability of a genetic disorder, more invasive testing such as an amniocentesis or chronic villus sampling (CVS). These tests do carry the potential risk of miscarriage since they are more invasive.

What is the cost of NIPT test?

Insurance companies do not consider NIPT as a diagnostic test, but they usually cover it for high-risk and some regular pregnancies. But otherwise, the out-of-pocket cost ranges from US$800 to US$2000 in the USA and from US$500 to US$1500 elsewhere. At Altus Lifescience, we offer these tests at a very affordable price. Find out details here.

What else should I know?

Since the test is a simple blood test, there’s not much you need to do to prepare for it. It is not a fasting blood test, so you will be able to take the test at your convenience as long as it’s after your 9 week mark.

Aside from the logistical aspect of the NIPT, you should also think about the potential results, how you plan on adjusting with them, and how they may alter your birth and parenting plan. If your results aren’t what you were initially planning for, it’s important to mentally and emotionally prepare yourself and anyone else on your pregnancy journey.

Resources:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ob-Gyns Release Revised Recommendations on Screening and Testing for Genetic Disorder.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Prenatal Genetic Screening and Diagnostic Testing.

WhattoExpect.com, Chronic Villus Sampling.

Cost of NIPT test, A Review of the Cost Effectiveness and Guidelines