Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS)
A Comprehensive Guide
Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS) is an optional advanced screening test for expectant mothers carrying single or twin pregnancies from 9-10 weeks onward. It provides a more accurate risk assessment for conditions such as Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13, compared to traditional risk screening.
NIPS is especially valuable for those who have received a high-risk result from their First Trimester Combined Screening (nuchal translucency and bloodwork) and wish to avoid invasive procedures like amniocentesis or CVS. Some people also decide to have this test as the only screening test due to its better accuracy.
At Milestones, we're proud to offer a seamless one-stop-shop experience for NIPS
The screening is optional, and like all prenatal screenings, it only provides a risk estimate, not a definitive diagnosis. Nonetheless, it's an important guide for healthcare providers and families to best monitor and manage the pregnancy and to prepare for the potential outcomes.
The NIPS Procedure
The NIPS procedure involves a maternal venous blood draw carried out at Milestones, using a specialized NIPS blood collection kit. Your blood sample contains small amounts of fetal DNA, which are then analyzed. Our team will assist in creating an account on the NIPS portal, linking your information to the collected sample before shipping.
The sample is sent via FedEx directly from Milestones to a specialized lab in either Canada or the USA for DNA analysis. Results detailing the risk of Trisomy 21, 18, 13, fetal sex, and microdeletions (if selected) are made available to you via the NIPS portal, typically within 5-10 business days following your blood draw. In the event of a high-risk result, our Milestones team will personally reach out to discuss the next appropriate steps with you.
Understanding Your Results
A low-risk result signifies that no abnormalities were detected in the analyzed DNA, and your pregnancy is considered at low risk for the tested chromosomal conditions. However, a high-risk result points to an elevated risk for these specific conditions. Upon receiving a high-risk result, some expectant mothers may opt for further, potentially invasive, testing such as chorionic villous sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. Others might require access to specialized fetal ultrasound and multidisciplinary care during their pregnancy.
It's crucial to note that before making any irreversible decisions based on a high-risk NIPS result, a diagnostic test is necessary as the initial screening might sometimes be incorrect. Rest assured, our committed team at Milestones will be there to help you understand your individual results and guide you through your pregnancy journey.