Many babies are born with chromosomal abnormalities. These can lead to either physical or mental disability for life. For a parent, it can be difficult to raise a child with such a disability. Abnormal chromosomes are also major factors behind miscarriages. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) has opened up new possibilities for pregnant women to know whether their babies have any chromosomal abnormalities. It also helps them to find the underlying reason for miscarriages. You can also use it to determine whether the baby is a boy or a girl. If you want to get pregnant through IVF, you should have blood tests before IVF to have a safe pregnancy.
Which abnormalities can be determined?
A chromosomal abnormality occurs when the fetus has a structurally flawed or incorrect number of chromosomes. NIPT can determine whether there is a duplicate or missing copy of a chromosome. With this testing you can determine if your unborn child might have the following disorders:
- Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21
- Edwards Syndrome or Trisomy 18
- Patau Syndrome or Trisomy 13
- Cystic Fibrosis
Why is it better than the other tests?
NIPT is a non-invasive technique that draws blood from the pregnant woman to determine any genetic disorder. There are cell-free DNAs floating in the bloodstream of a pregnant woman. By taking the blood sample, doctors actually test these DNAs to find out about the possibilities of genetic disorders.
This test will only give you the percentage risk of having such a disorder; it won’t give any definitive result. However, the results are 99% accurate most of the time. You can perform NIPT after nine weeks into the pregnancy period. So, it is better than the other tests like quad screen or CVS which takes longer. The results you get from NIPT are also more accurate than the other tests. As you can know the results early in the pregnancy period, you will be able to decide whether to keep the baby or go for an abortion in case the baby has a high chance of having Down syndrome or other genetic disorders.
If you have a family history of genetic disorders or if you have gone through multiple miscarriages then it’s worth checking whether your unborn child might have any chromosomal abnormalities. This method is absolutely safe for the baby and the mother. Research works are going on, and soon we will be able to use NIPT to test other genetic disorders as well.