Once upon a time, women in need of prenatal genetic testing had limited, and very risky, options available to them. While there are some situations where invasive and riskier tests, like the amniocentesis are necessary, there are many occasions in which the need for these more invasive genetic testing procedures can be ruled out with a non-invasive screening process that is included in many corporate wellness programs.
The Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing process, also referred to as NIPT, offers peace of mind for many expecting parents by ruling out the need for invasive screenings for a wide range of chromosomal conditions including Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, and other fetal sex chromosome abnormalities.
What Sets NIPT Testing Apart from More Invasive Procedures?
There are many ways NIPT differs from traditional genetic testing procedures. First, it doesn’t pose any risk to the baby at all. It requires a sample of blood from the mother and the blood of the fetus is then extrapolated from the sample to yield a sample of the baby’s blood to check for the potential of certain chromosomal abnormalities. This is far less risky than extracting DNA from the amniotic fluid, which is required in other genetic testing procedures.
This isn’t the only major difference, though, to keep in mind when it comes to NIPT testing. NIPT testing can be conducted at any point in the pregnancy after the tenth week – unlike the amniocentesis, which can only be conducted between weeks 14 and 20 of the pregnancy.
Results from NIPT are fast, often received within five business days of the screening and the NIPT can be conducted in the event of multiple births (such as with twins). Once the results are in, you will review them with a genetic counselor who can explain any concerns you may have and provide you with vital resources and information on your next steps moving forward.
Some employee wellness programs in Canada that offer this service also provide for the opportunity to add screenings for microdeletions into the mix as well. You’ll need to check with your organization to see if this type of screening is available as part of your organization’s wellness benefits for employees.
Does NIPT Eliminate the Need for an Amniocentesis?
In some cases, it can rule out the need for an amniocentesis, but it does not replace the need for one altogether. NIPT is not a diagnostic test, but it can indicate whether or not you need to have further testing and which tests might serve your situation best. The main purpose of the NIPT is to eliminate the need for CVS and amniocentesis when they are not absolutely necessary.
An important part of an executive health clinic in Toronto is to provide peace of mind for the executives in your organization. The ability to eliminate a worrisome procedure, like the amniocentesis, from the prenatal screening line-up can be a huge weight lifted from the shoulders of some of your most essential executives. Keep that in mind and choose corporate wellness solutions that offer this particular solution to the men and women who work for you.