How much is a NIPT test?
What is a NIPT test?
Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is a genetic test used to screen for genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome, and Patau’s syndrome during pregnancy. An NIPT screen involves the analysis of foetal DNA that circulates within a pregnant person’s blood.
The AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT test can be taken by expectant mothers from just 10 weeks of pregnancy. NIPT is carried out using a blood sample from the mother, meaning that there is no risk to the mother or the baby.
How does a NIPT test work?
NIPT is a blood test taken from an expectant mother to find out important health information about their pregnancy from as early as 10 weeks. This type of test analyses cell-free foetal DNA (cffDNA) which can be found in the mother’s bloodstream. These cells are examined by revolutionary DNA technology for abnormalities in the chromosomes belonging to the foetus.
NIPT is a screening test that provides information on whether a pregnant woman is carrying a foetus with an increased chance of being affected by a chromosomal condition, known as an aneuploidy. An aneuploidy is a condition caused by having an incorrect number of chromosomes i.e. an extra or a missing copy of a chromosome. The most common and well-known type of aneuploidy is Down’s syndrome.
The NIPT testing only requires a sample of the mother’s blood, meaning that there is no risk to either the mother or the baby. This is important to consider, as traditional test methods require a sample collected by highly invasive methods such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which can harm the mother and baby and increase the risk of pregnancy loss.
The AlphaBiolabs NIPT test conforms to the highest quality standards. This NIPT test is CE-IVD marked and performed in a UKAS-accredited laboratory, meaning that you can have complete confidence in the findings. This test is highly robust and has a very high success rate, meaning that 99.8% of customers receive results from the first blood sample.
What does a NIPT screen test for?
The three most common chromosomal conditions covered by the Standard AlphaBiolabs IONA® test are:
Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21)
Trisomy 21 is also known as Down’s syndrome. It is one of the most common chromosomal conditions at birth and poses an increased risk for miscarriage or stillbirth. Individuals with Down’s syndrome have mild to moderate intellectual disability, characteristic facial features, and may have treatable medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, low muscle tone, and low thyroid levels.
Edwards’ syndrome (Trisomy 18) and Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13)
Trisomy 18 is also known as Edwards’ syndrome, and Trisomy 13 is also known as Patau’s syndrome. Trisomies 18 and 13 are significantly less common than Down’s syndrome but are much more severe. There is an increased risk for miscarriage or stillbirth. Infants with trisomy 18 or trisomy 13 have severe physical and intellectual disabilities, and survival beyond one year of age is rare.
Additionally, the Advanced AlphaBiolabs NIPT test can also detect changes in all other chromosomes, including Autosomal Aneuploidies (AAs) and Sex Chromosome Aneuploidies (SCAs) such as Turner’s syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, Jacob’s syndrome and Trisomy X.
The AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT tests also offer optional foetal sex determination.
The AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT test can be carried out as soon as 10 gestational weeks, confirmed by an ultrasound appointment (NHS or private), with results available in 7 working days.
Is NIPT available for free on the NHS?
NIPT is increasingly being offered by the NHS. However, it is only available for pregnant women who are deemed at high risk of carrying a baby affected by Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome.
Traditional screening offered by the NHS during pregnancy is known as the ‘combined test’ and is typically carried out at 11-13 weeks. Testing consists of an ultrasound scan to measure the nuchal translucency (NT) and a blood test to look at protein markers. Together, these factors are used to predict the probability of the foetus having Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
Those who receive a high-risk result from the combined test may be offered an NIPT test, which is another screening test, or diagnostic testing, which may be an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS).
Amniocentesis and CVS will provide a definite answer as to whether or not the baby has Down’s syndrome, Patau’s syndrome or Edwards’ syndrome, but amniocentesis and CVS are both invasive procedures and increase the risk of a miscarriage. Therefore, many pregnant people are choosing to take a NIPT screening test privately, as it is available to all expectant mothers, irrespective of whether they were classified as high risk by the combined test.
The AlphaBiolabs NIPT test uses foetal DNA obtained from the mother’s bloodstream, posing no risk to the mother or the baby.
Traditional screening consists of multiple tests across the first and second trimesters, which can detect around 85% of babies with Down’s syndrome, and 80% of babies with Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome.
On the other hand, the AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT requires a single blood test, which can be provided by any expectant mother in the first trimester, from 10+ weeks gestation, and is not restricted to those who received a high-risk result from the combined test.
The IONA® NIPT has also shown much higher accuracies compared to traditional screening methods, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. Traditional prenatal screening methods also include many different tests over the course of the first and second trimester.
The AlphaBiolabs NIPT test is a laboratory test which detects 97.2%-100% of trisomies 13, 18 and 21 in singleton and twin pregnancies. The AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT test can also provide early gender determination. With results available in in 7 working days, you can get results much quicker when compared to the traditional testing pathway.
|Traditional Screening Tests||AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT|
|Multiple procedures over the course of the first and/or second trimester||One laboratory test at any time over 10 weeks gestation|
|Combined screening identifies around 85% of babies with Down’s syndrome and 80% of babies with Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome||The AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT test detects over 99.9% of babies with Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome|
|Reduced performance of screening in twin pregnancies||Equivalent performance of screening in both twin and singleton pregnancies|
|Results are provided following several tests, which can take some time||Results provided within 7 working days|
|Can involve invasive methods that can harm the mother and baby and carry an increased chance of miscarriage||Blood test taken from mother’s arm, posing no risk to mother or baby|
|No early gender identification||Gender identification available from 10 weeks|
How much does a NIPT test cost?
The Standard AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT (£495) screens for three common trisomies: Down’s syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards’ syndrome (Trisomy 18) and Patau’s syndrome (Trisomy 13).
The Advanced AlphaBiolabs IONA® NIPT (£595) screens for the three common trisomies included in our Standard test, plus all other autosomal aneuploidies (AAs) and sex chromosome aneuploidies (SCAs).
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Health Testing Specialist at AlphaBiolabs
Karolina joined AlphaBiolabs in 2021, and holds the role of Health Testing Specialist.
As well as overseeing a range of health tests, Karolina plays an active role in the research and development of the company’s latest health test offerings.
Before joining AlphaBiolabs, Karolina worked as an Associate Practitioner at Mid-Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and as a research assistant at the Turner Laboratory, within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester.
Karolina’s main scientific interests include clinical genomics and genetic diagnostics. Her qualifications include a BSc in Molecular Biology and an MSc in Genomic Medicine.
An NIPT is a genetic test used to screen for genetic abnormalities during pregnancy. Find out more in our expert article.
In this article we look at what Edward’s syndrome is, the causes and characteristics of Edward’s syndrome, and how you can test for Edward’s syndrome before birth.