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Premier Medical Laboratory Services Offers a Safe Way to Test a Baby’s Genetic Risk

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a prenatal screening that analyzes fragments of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from the placenta that are present in a pregnant woman’s blood. The test is used to identify whether they are at increased risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder and can detect the gender of the baby sooner than an ultrasound. NIPT is most often used to look for chromosomal disorders that are caused by the presence of an extra or missing copy of a chromosome. It’s important to know that NIPT is a screening test — not a diagnostic test. This means that it can’t diagnose a genetic condition with certainty. It can, however, predict whether the risk of a genetic condition is high or low.

Before NIPT, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis were the most widely used for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities. These methods are still performed today as diagnostic tests, but involve sampling of the placenta or amniotic fluid, which presents a risk to the pregnancy. NIPT is risk-free because it is simply conducted with a blood sample from the mother as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy.

NIPT is widely covered by insurance for high-risk and some regular pregnancies.

How accurate is NIPT?

Research from the National Library of Medicine suggests that NIPTs have anywhere from 97 to 99 percent accuracy when it comes to predicting the risk of Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, or Patau syndrome.

False positive NIPT screening results can happen as well. If you have a positive NIPT result, healthcare providers will likely order additional diagnostic tests, which can be more invasive and riskier. In some cases, these diagnostic tests reveal the baby doesn’t have a chromosomal abnormality after all.

The takeaway

The NIPT prenatal test is a trusted elective screening tool used to assess the genetic risk of a fetal chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome, in the first trimester of pregnancy.

It’s often more strongly suggested when an expecting mother has risk factors for these genetic disorders. While the test isn’t diagnostic, it can be an informative step toward knowing more about a baby’s health.

Need NIPT testing? Contact PMLS at or call 877.335.2455