About the NIPT Test

What is NIPT?

  • Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) is a screening test that examines small fragments of DNA (cell free DNA (cfDNA) which are released from the placenta.  This is isolated from the mother’s blood and can be tested to determine if there is a chance that that the baby is affected by Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndromes.


What will NIPT detect?


Why have NIPT?

  • Currently, all pregnant women are able to have a combined serum screening test which consists of a blood test and an ultrasound scan.  This test is less sensitive than NIPT (86% detection rate for Down’s Syndrome and 80% detection for Edwards’ and Patau’s Syndromes).
  • NIPT is a more accurate test as it is >99% sensitive for Down’s and Patau’s Syndromes and 91.7% sensitive for Edwards’ Syndrome

Case studies

"Five years ago, our community midwife told us that our pregnancy screening tests had come back high risk. We had to  wait for an appointment to discuss the next steps, which was a very stressful time. We decided at that time to have a NIPT performed. The nearest centre for taking the blood was 60 miles away and then the blood was sent to the USA for testing as it was not performed in this country. The result took about two weeks to come back.

Once we had found out we were pregnant this time, we knew that it was a must for us to have a NIPT to reduce the stress we encountered last time. NUH is a local hospital and was able to provide the results very quickly for us so we could identify any risks associated with the pregnancy. The service we received was excellent with really good communication from the laboratory throughout and a very detailed but clear report we could understand. We were also able to find out the sex of our baby though this was optional.

The experience of using NIPT at NUH had a massive impact on our pregnancy. We were able to get the results very quickly which reduced the stress we had previously encountered from normal screening tests."

Who can have the NIPT test?

  • The NIPT test is available from 10 weeks of pregnancy
  • NIPT has been added to the NHS screening pathway for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ Syndrome and Patau’s syndrome and will be offered at no additional cost following a higher chance result (between 1 in 2 and 1 in 150) from the combined (First Trimester) or quadruple (Second Trimester) test
  • The Nottingham NIPT laboratory provides a private NIPT test
  • The test is suitable for single and twin pregnancies (Please note that for non-identical twin pregnancies the NIPT test will provide the chance of a Trisomy affected pregnancy for the pregnancy and will not be able to provide a twin-specific chance)
  • The test is suitable for IVF pregnancies (including donor egg pregnancies)
  • The test is suitable for surrogate pregnancies

Who cannot have the NIPT test?

  • The NIPT test is not suitable if you have cancer or chromosomal abnormalities including Trisomy 13, 18 and 21
  • NIPT cannot be performed in multiple pregnancies greater than twins
  • NIPT cannot be performed if you have had an organ transplant or received stem cell therapy or immunotherapy within the last 12 months
  • NIPT cannot be performed if you have had a blood transfusion with the last 3 months

How accurate is the Vanadis NIPT test for Trisomy Screening?

Vandalis table image

a = based 747 patient samples

b = based on 1035 patient samples


Sensitivity - The ability of the Vanadis NIPT test to identify the condition in pregnancies affected by the condition


Specificity - The ability of the Vanadis NIPT test to correctly identify pregnancies not affected by the condition


PPV - The number of truly positive/affected pregnancies that were reported as positive by the Vanadis NIPT test


NPV - The number of truly negative/unaffected pregnancies that were reported as negative by the Vanadis NIPT test

How accurate is the Vanadis NIPT test for Fetal Sex Determination?

  • The Vanadis NIPT test can determine the sex of your baby with 99.6% sensitivity
  • If fetal sex determination is required please ensure that this is clearly requested on the request form by ticking the appropriate box in Section 4 of the request form which you can download below:
  • Nottingham NIPT Request Form_Version 2.ppt[ppt] 951KB
  • Please note that as fetal sex determination is not a medical test it does not meet the definition of an in vitro diagnostic device

How are the results of the Vanadis NIPT test reported?

Low chance

This means that it is very unlikely that your baby is affected by Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndromes


Increased chance

This means that there is an increased chance that your baby is affected by Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndromes.  All increased chance results should be confirmed by an invasive diagnostic test which could be chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.  Confirmation is required in all increased chance cases as in a very small number of cases the DNA from the placenta may not represent the DNA of your baby


Failed test

This means that a result has not been able to be produced.  In a small number of cases it is possible that there is not enough baby’s DNA in your blood to produce a result. 

(Two blood samples will be collected and if the first test fails the second sample will be tested at no additional cost.  A failed test result will only be reported after testing of both samples)


Inconclusive result

This means that the result is not clear and a result cannot be produced.