When you are pregnant, one of the most important things you can do is to ensure your baby is healthy. It means getting regular prenatal care and screenings. One of the most common tests done during pregnancy is the Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). NIPT is conducted globally, with more than 10 million tests performed in 2018.
But what exactly goes into this test? This blog post will discuss the different components of a NIPT test like next generation sequencing and what they mean for you and your child.
NIPT begins with a blood sample drawn from the pregnant woman to extract DNA.
The blood sample is one of the most critical components of a NIPT test. It is used to extract DNA then analysed for genetic abnormalities. The results of this analysis can help you and your doctor understand the risk of genetic disorders in your baby.
The blood sample is taken using a standard needle and syringe. It is important to note that the test can be done at any stage of pregnancy, so there is no need to worry if you are late in your term.
How is DNA Analysed?
Next-generation sequencing is used to analyse the DNA. This technology can sequence millions of strands of DNA at a time. It involves reading the DNA code rather than looking for specific changes or mutations.
These changes can identify disorders, such as Down syndrome. The results of the NIPT test are typically available within two weeks.
If any abnormalities are found, you can discuss the best course of action with your doctor for you and your baby.
What is Included in the NIPT test?
The NIPT test includes analysing chromosomes 21, 18, and 13.
- a) Chromosome 21:
This chromosome is associated with Down syndrome. It is always 99 percent accurate in giving results.
- b) Chromosome 18:
This chromosome can test for Edwards syndrome. The test can identify up to 98% of cases of Edwards syndrome.
- c) Chromosome 13:
When a child has Trisomy 13, they have an extra copy of chromosome 13. This chromosome is responsible for a wide range of genetic disorders.
The NIPT test also looks for microdeletions and microduplications on chromosomes 21, 18, and 13. These are minor changes in the DNA that can cause genetic issues.
What is Published in the Reports?
The report will include the following information:
– The probability of the baby having a specific disorder.
– The risk ratio.
– A positive or negative result for each chromosome that was tested.
The report will also include information on how to interpret the results. It is important because the test can produce false positives and false negatives.
When is the Right Time to Conduct NIPT?
The NIPT test should be done between weeks nine and thirteen of gestation. It is because the test is more accurate during this time frame.
The test can be done earlier, but the results may not be as accurate.
What if the Results are Abnormal?
If the NIPT test comes back with abnormal results, it does not mean that your baby has a genetic disorder.
It is essential to discuss the results with your doctor to understand what they mean for you and your baby.
What is the Next Course of Action?
If the results are positive, your doctor may recommend further testing, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
These blood tests can confirm whether or not your baby has a genetic issue.
The NIPT test is a simple and effective way to screen for certain genetic conditions. It is a non-invasive test performed as early as the tenth week of pregnancy. If you are considering the NIPT test, talk to your healthcare provider if it is right for you.