Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS) is a new way to screen for Down syndrome (trisomy 21), trisomy 18 and trisomy 13. During a pregnancy, some of the baby’s cells break down end up in the mother’s blood stream. These broken down cells release DNA. DNA is the ‘genetic make-up’ of a person. The technology used in NIPS detects the baby’s DNA and provides a way to identify if the baby is at increased chance of having a chromosomal condition.
NIPS requires two tubes of maternal blood and this sample can be collected any time after 10 weeks gestation. Results are usually available in about 10 days.
This test is offered in Alberta by private companies. It is not presently covered by Alberta Health Care. If you would like NIPS, the cost is between $125-$450 depending on the company.
For more information on having NIPS, please talk to your doctor.
NIPS is available to all women, but may be most valuable for patients who:
- Women who have had have had a positive early prenatal screen in the first trimester (nuchal translucency) or second trimester (maternal serum screen)
- Advanced maternal age (35 years or older)
- Have had a previous pregnancy with a chromosomal condition