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Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is now available in all of East Sussex!

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Have you heard of NIPT or the

Harmony test, mama?

It is a simple blood test pregnant people can have as early as 10 weeks, which can detect genetic abnormalities in their unborn babies.

NIPT is the most accurate antenatal screening test we have for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes. It is more accurate than the combined test - the one everyone is offered with their 12 week scan. In fact, the NHS offers NIPT as the best follow up for those mamas who are given a high-risk result from the combined screening.

You can now arrange your own NIPT blood test before you have the combined screening.

This means walking into your first trimester scan with much more confidence, as you already know the answer to some of the big questions.

Before we delve into the benefits and downsides of taking this test, let me tell you how easy and hassle-free it is to have it done. Until recently, East Sussex families had to travel to Eastbourne for private NIPT. Now, you get an experienced midwife at your door, at a time that is convenient for you. The appointment lasts approximately 30 minutes and we bring all that we need. We do your blood test in the comfort of your home, fill out the forms and we take care of the rest.

Booking and doing the test is a painless (ok, maybe a little scratch) and stress-free process that gives you and your family the information you’re looking for. We are also responsible for tracking down the results and letting you know as soon as they’re in. With a processing time of 4 days, you can say goodbye to waiting around wondering, or random people you’ve never met communicating such sensitive information to you. We’ve got you, mama.

Now, let's talk benefits. One of the most significant benefits of opting for NIPT is early detection of genetic abnormalities in your baby. Most Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests can pick up conditions such as Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s Syndrome as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy. Our chosen NIPT goes a few steps further: it also offers early detection of baby's sex and of anomalies with the X and Y chromosomes, which are associated with infertility, physical and developmental challenges.

Knowing this early allows for better preparation and planning for the future, including specialised care for your baby.

Another benefit is that it is non-invasive. NIPT is carried out using a simple blood sample from the expectant mother, which poses no risk to the baby. The results are also highly accurate, with a 99% detection rate.

However, like with any medical test, there are downsides to consider. Firstly, the test does not detect all genetic abnormalities but only focuses on Down’s, Edward’s, Patau’s and sex chromosomes associated syndromes. Secondly, there is a very very small chance of a "false positive" result, meaning the test may indicate a genetic abnormality that is not present in the baby. This could lead to unnecessary anxiety and further invasive testing, which could pose a risk to the baby. This is the same downfall for all types of antenatal screening. They are very accurate in telling us which babies are not affected, but they may overestimate the ones who are, leading to worrying some families unnecessarily. If this is something you really want to avoid, you may need to think whether declining all antenatal screening (including the standard combined test offered at your 12 week scan) may be the best option for you and your family.

Choosing whether to accept antenatal screening tests is a personal decision that takes into consideration lots of different factors and priorities. It is the absolute best choice for some families whilst irrelevant for others. It may be completely off of someone’s radar in their first pregnancy and become crucial information in their fourth. Or vice versa.

Every pregnancy in different and the most important message we want you to get from this article is that You Have Options! Nobody can tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, but you have a right to the information being shared thoroughly and with the nuance required by this topic. If you’re unsure where you stand on antenatal screening and whether it’s the right thing for you, book a free consultation with us, and our midwives can help you navigate this minefield.

If you’re in Hastings, Eastbourne or anywhere in East Sussex, NIPT is now an easy and accessible option for all expectant mamas looking to detect genetic abnormalities early in their pregnancies. It is a painless and accurate process all done in your home which can provide peace of mind and allow for better planning for the future.

Want to book yours? Book a free consultation with us, and let’s get you all set up, mama.

Cost: £350

Additional mileage fee applicable.


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