Q&A: What is non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT)?

If you have decided to find out the gender of your bub rather than keeping it a surprise, chances are you are busting to find out and waiting until your 20-week scan seems like forever away. Well, good news. Your impatient self only has to wait until you are 10 weeks pregnant with NIPT.

What is Non-invasive Prenatal Testing?

Non-invasive prenatal testing, commonly known as NIPT, is a way of testing a fetus’s DNA through a mother’s blood. It can detect for the presence of certain chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome, Turner syndrome and also reveal the baby’s gender.

In simple terms, it’s a routine blood test so the screening is safe and poses no threat to your pregnancy. The blood sample collected will identify whether there is a Y chromosome present. If there is, you are expecting a bouncing baby boy. If there isn’t, start buying up big in pink.

When is it done?

It is usually recommended between 10 and 13 weeks gestation. Prior to 10 weeks, the amount of bubs DNA in your blood can be insufficient for the test. Once the test is done, your doctor should receive the result in just 3-5 days. It takes longer to post a letter!

How reliable is NIPT?

Most sources say NIPT has greater than 99% accuracy. So pretty accurate.

What does it cost?

NIPT is optional and not covered by Medicare or private health insurance so it is an out of pocket cost. In Australia, the cost is usually between $400 and $550 and you will require a referral from your GP or obstetrician.

So if you just can’t wait to paint the nursery pink or blue, or are keen to cut your potential baby names list in half, ask your GP or obstetrician about NIPT.