Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening:

Cell Free Fetal DNA

The cell free fetal DNA (cffDNA) screening test, also known as a non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) test. It will determine with a high degree of accuracy whether your baby may have a genetic chromosome disorder such as Down's Syndrome, Trisomy 13, or Trisomy 18.

When can the test be done?
It may be done during pregnancy as early as the tenth week after the first day of your last menstrual period, but is generally offered at 12 week's gestation for optimal results.

How does the test work?
Small amounts of fetal derived DNA fragments normally enter the mother’s bloodstream. These small fragments can be measured by a simple blood test that poses no harm to you or your baby. The DNA is then analyzed. An abnormal chromosome pattern may be detected.

What types of chromosome abnormalities may be identified?
This test will screen for such abnormalities as Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), Trisomy 13, and Trisomy 18, or an abnormal sex chromosome condition such as Turner’s Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome.

Are there limitations to the test?
As with any screening test, a false positive (the test is abnormal in the absence of an abnormality) or a false negative (the test is normal and a chromosome abnormality does exist) may occur in rare cases. In addition, not all birth defects, genetic disorders, or health related illnesses may be detected.

If my test is abnormal, what happens next?
If you have an abnormal test result, you will be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. Additional testing is offered at that time.

Can the test tell me the sex of my unborn baby?
Yes. As part of the test’s results, the baby’s sex will be identified. When you are given your test results, you are given the option not to know the baby’s sex until after delivery, if you so desire.

Do I have to do the cell free fetal DNA test?
The cell free DNA test is an optional non invasive prenatal screening test, and is an alternative to another non-invasive prenatal screening test known as the BUN (Blood, Ultrasound, Nuchal Translucency) test. 

Our obstetricians will counsel you before a non-invasive prenatal screening test is performed. This allows you an opportunity to discuss your personal situation and participate in making the best decision for you during your prenatal care. 

After counseling and risk factor assessment, you are given the option to have a non invasive prenatal screening test performed. You may also decline doing any non invasive prenatal testing. The final decision is up to you.

Will my health insurance cover the cffDNA screening test?
The cfDNA prenatal screening test is one option for non-invasive prenatal screening, with the other test being the BUN test. You may want to check with your insurance carrier to see which test may be covered.

What if I have further questions?
Please feel free to discuss any of your concerns with one of our obstetric providers. We are more than happy to answer all your questions regarding non-invasive prenatal screening options.

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 Northwest Women's Consultants 

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