Pregnancy is an exciting experience but it can also be a time of worry. It is completely normal for expectant parents to be concerned about the health of their unborn baby. If you are newly pregnant then you will probably be aware of screening for Down’s Syndrome or Trisomy 21 as it is also known. Whilst traditional screening is available on the NHS between the 10th and 14th week of your pregnancy, it can give false positives, which is why many parents prefer to undergo the Harmony Test.
What Does The Harmony Test Detect?
The Harmony Test is a non-invasive prenatal test that analyses the DNA in a blood sample taken from the mother during pregnancy. This analysis can then predict the possibility of chromosome conditions Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patau’s Syndrome).
DNA is included in all of our cells and it is what tells our body to grow and develop. It is packaged into structures called chromosomes, of which humans typically have 23 pairs, including two X chromosomes for women and one X and one Y chromosome for men. Sometimes an error occurs that results in a missing or extra chromosome, for example Trisomy 21 has an extra copy of chromosome 21, Trisomy 13 has an extra copy of chromosome 13 and Trisomy 18 has an extra copy of chromosome 18.
Advantages of Harmony Test
There are other tests for Down’s Syndrome that can be performed later in pregnancy, but the Harmony Test or NIPT test as it is sometimes known, can be performed early on and deliver accurate results:
- Available from 10 weeks into pregnancy
- Non invasive procedure where a blood sample is taken from the pregnant mother
- Results available within 7 weeks
The NIPT test is suitable for both single and twin pregnancies. It is also suitable for all IVF pregnancies, but not those where more than one embryo has been transferred.
Harmony Test Accuracy
With traditional screening, there is around a 1 in 20 (or 50 in a 1000) chance of getting a false positive, whereas with the Harmony Test there is only a 1 in 1000 chance of the test returning a false positive result. Clinical tests have shown that the Harmony Test will detect 99% of cases of Trisomy 21, meaning there is less chance that your doctor will need to recommend further, more invasive testing.
Your chances of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality can be influenced by your age and family history, so if you are concerned about this then booking in for a test appointment is the first step in becoming informed.
Harmony Clinics at Early Life
We offer the Harmony Test combined with an early pregnancy scan in our Harmony Clinics which take place every Thursday and Friday. Our appointments include an ultrasound scan to date your pregnancy, blood samples taken by our Nurse or Midwife phlebotomist and counselling to discuss how the test works and when and how you will receive results.
Click here to find out more about our prenatal Harmony test or to book your appointment. We look forward to welcoming you to Early Life Ultrasound Centre and are happy to answer any questions you might have by contacting us here.