NIPT (Non Invasive Prenatal Testing)

NIPT (Non Invasive Prenatal Testing)


Non invasive prenatal testing is a test done for pregnant women to detect any risk of genetic abnormalities in the baby.  It is simple, non invasive blood test that provides more informations to the doctors compared to the conventional tests.  Who requires the test?  NIPT should not be performed for all pregnant women.  It is offered for high risk pregnant women who are at a risk of  having baby with genetic abnormality, women with  advanced maternal age, women with family history of a chromosomal abnormality, women with previous history of chromosomal abnormal baby, women with history of recurrent miscarriages and  women with history of multiple IVF failures.

So they can undergo this test which is relatively simple compared to the invasive tests.  These tests have an accuracy of  97% - 99%.  Although the invasive tests have 100% accuracy, they have increased chances of miscarriage.

How is NIPT performed?

NIPT involves a simple blood draw with a syringe and needle and is safe for the mother as well as the baby.  The sample would be sent to the lab, where the technician would look at the DNA in the blood and search for abnormalities.  The results of the NIPT are generally paired up with the results of the first trimester ultrasound.  IT could also be paired with the nuchal translucency screening to determine the need for further testing.  The doctor might recommend follow up procedures if there are problems.

What does the NIPT Screening?

NIPT screens the most common chromosomal disorders:

  • Patau syndrome – Trisomy 13
  • Edwards Syndrome – Trisomy 18
  • Down Syndrome – Trisomy 21

When is NIPT performed?

NIPT is the earliest prenatal testing that can be performed.  IT can be done at any time following the 9-week mark.  In comparison to this test, nuchal translucency screening can be done between weeks 11 and 13.  Chorionic villus sampling can be done between the ages of 10 to 13 weeks.  The quad screen can take place between weeks 14 and  22, while amniocentesis is performed between weeks  16 and  18.

How accurate Is NIPT?

It has been found that NIPT  is about  99% accurate while predicting Down Sundrome – which means it is much more accurate than the other standard screenings.  IT also screens for Edward syndrome quite accurately.

NIPT is recommended to women who are at high risk of carrying a baby with a chromosomal abnormality.  Hence, it is not meant for everyone.  You doctor would surely ask you to take a test if it is necessary.

Authored by Dr. Radhika Meka

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