The National Screening Committee is expected to recommend that the NHS offers non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to all high risk pregnant women* this week. Manchester-based Premaitha Health, that manufactures the pioneering IONA® test, is providing guidance to expectant mums on the benefits of NIPT.
The IONA® test, the leading NIPT with the CE quality mark is already the preferred test of choice for many NHS hospitals and private clinics in the UK. The IONA® test provides peace of mind to new mums who are recommended screening for Down's Syndrome and other serious genetic diseases such as Edwards' and Patau's Syndromes. The IONA® test is safer for the baby and avoids the risk of miscarriage from a more invasive procedure such as amniocentesis or CVS. The IONA® test provides rapid certainty for parents; within just 3-5 days they will receive their test results through their healthcare provider and all after mum provides a straightforward blood sample from themselves, not their baby.
More than one in five pregnant women in the UK are now over the age of 35, which is approximately 140,000 live births each year. As expectant mothers get older they have a higher risk of their pregnancies being affected by Down's Syndrome with one in 40 pregnancies found to be high risk from the current combined test.
The National Screening Committee's recommendation means that more British women will benefit from having access to an NHS funded NIPT as an alternative to paying for it privately. This is understandably a very emotional time for the parents to be, previously exasperated by the lengthy period of uncertainty and the possible need to have an unnecessary invasive procedure such as amniocentesis or CVS, where a sample is taken directly from the amniotic fluid or placenta.
Dr. Stephen Little, CEO of Premaitha Health plc, comments "There is now no longer any need for expectant mums to go through unnecessary invasive procedures such as amniocentesis or CVS which are painful, stressful and costly to the NHS and carry a small miscarriage risk. However, as we know from expectant Mums any potential risk is too high."
"In the IONA® test we have worked with clinical experts to develop a leading NIPT test which has earned the gold-standard CE mark, so that expectant mums and their partners can get the highest quality prenatal care using the latest DNA technologies. We hope to see a roll out of NIPT, such as the IONA® test, to many more hospitals in the coming months and we are encouraging mums who are eligible for fetal anomaly screening to request the IONA® test from their midwife or doctor."
Mary Syder, who is 27 weeks pregnant and had the IONA® test at 11 weeks, adds "Having the IONA® test was a no-brainer for me and I wanted the peace of mind as I am a mum in my mid-30s. I feel very fortunate that this type of test was available to me; I can't imagine how stressful it would be to have an amniocentesis with the associated risk to the baby. It was so straightforward, no more complicated than giving a blood sample and my husband and I had the result back within 5 days."
The advantages of the IONA test:
Safe: non-invasive with no risk of miscarriage
Fast: the IONA® Test is the fastest NIPT available with results within 3-5 days
Accurate: greater than 99% for the detection of trisomy conditions
Simple: uses a simple maternal blood sample
Quality: unlike other NIPTs on the market, the IONA® test is a regulated diagnostic which is CE marked for quality
Local: unlike other NIPTs, the IONA® Test is performed in a laboratory local to you, your blood sample is not shipped to the US or China