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What is NIPT Screening?
A Non-Invasive Pregnancy Test (NIPT) is a simple blood test, taken from the mother, from as early as 10 weeks into pregnancy. The test picks up the baby’s DNA within the mother’s bloodstream, and, once it is analysed, this DNA can reveal a treasure trove of important information about your baby, including what its gender is likely to be and it can give an indication as to whether certain chromosomal conditions are likely to be present.
Are NIPT Tests available on the NHS?
At present, NIPT tests are not widely available on the NHS. The NHS does offer a blood test as standard to indicate the likelihood that your baby has Down’s Syndrome. If this risk is considered high, you will then be offered an invasive test called an Amniocentesis. This test carries a risk of miscarriage, which is why most parents opt for the NIPT test to gain a stronger indication of the likelihood of your baby having Down’s Syndrome. The NIPT test also searches for Edward’s and Patau’s Syndromes, which the standard NHS tests do not. NIPT screening carries no risk to your baby whatsoever; it is a simple blood test and results are ready within 10 working days.
It’s a great option if you have been identified as having a high chance of your baby having Down's Syndrome, but do not want to immediately have further tests that could potentially endanger your baby. It's also great if you simply want to screen for more conditions or to know the sex of your baby as soon as possible, to enable you to be prepared for whatever parenthood might bring your way.
The Vision Test
What is it and what does it test for?
When a woman is pregnant, the baby's DNA can be detected in her bloodstream. The NIPT test looks at the chromosomes within the baby's DNA. This means it can detect likely chromosomal conditions.
There are three levels of the Vision test available. The standard test looks for Down's, Edwards' and Patau's syndromes as well as the detection of XX (girl) or XY (boy) chromosomes and sex chromosome conditions (optional).
You can upgrade to Vision+ (which also detects 6 microdeletion syndromes) or Vision Total (which also detects 9 microdeletion syndromes). Please contact our team to discuss your options.
The earliest you can have a scan to test for a baby’s gender is around 16 weeks. An NIPT test can be taken from as early as 10 weeks, with the results arriving just 10 working days later.
Having an NIPT test as part of your first scan appointment provides you with an all rounded introduction to your baby, with the earliest possible insight into what the gender is likely to be.
How does it work?
It is important that we confirm that you are 10 weeks pregnant prior to carrying out the test, to ensure the results are valid. All Hey Baby NIPT services include a complimentary scan to confirm your gestational age, but if you have had a scan in the week leading up to the test, you do not need to have another (although you can still redeem your complimentary scan later).
Our experienced Phlebotomist will then take one tube of blood from your arm and send it to the laboratory; the whole process takes less than 20 minutes. The laboratory will then analyse the DNA to determine which belongs to you and which is from the placenta (baby's DNA). We will then contact you with your results within 10 working days.
Click here to book your NIPT test
What if the test finds something?
If the test shows likely for any of the conditions, then we will arrange for a Genetic Counsellor to contact you to discuss the results. Genetic Counsellors are specifically trained professionals who will explain exactly what the results mean, and talk through all the options with you with total sensitivity and empathy.
N.B. Vision is a screening test and although false positive/negative results are rare, they can occur. Invasive testing methods would still be recommended for confirmation purposes.