Prenatal screening tests provide vital information about your baby’s health before birth. These screening methods can be invasive or non-invasive. Invasive screening methods such as amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling may pose minor risks of miscarriage or harm to your baby as samples of tissues surrounding and supporting your baby’s growth are removed for testing. A new genetic testing method called non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) uses a simple blood test to examine the mother’s serum, the liquid portion of blood minus the cells, which contains foetal DNA that freely circulate in their blood stream. Blood is collected and sent to the lab for analysis.
NIPS may be recommended 10 to 12 weeks into pregnancy if you are Rh negative, a carrier of an inheritable disease or are at a high risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities (such as increased maternal age).
NIPS help detect certain chromosomal abnormalities and diseases such as Turner syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Down syndrome. NIPS is a sensitive and specific test with no potential risks to the pregnancy. However, the test is limited to only certain genetic and chromosomal abnormalities.