Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening Methods

Throughout pregnancy there is a wish that is universally shared by all prospective parents –to learn that their baby is healthy. Along with the other tests and medical appointments to evaluate the pregnancy and the fetus’s health, growth and development, non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) has become a standard part of prenatal care in the past few years. NIPT is a blood test taken by a pregnant woman to check for genetic conditions of the fetus before birth. Despite its recent introduction, NIPT has been widely adopted by the medical community and is routinely requested by prospective parents in addition to traditional screening. Why was there a need for yet another screening test, and how does NIPT differ from the other screening tests that are already established in clinical practice?

To start with, let’s examine the term ‘screening tests’. A screening test lets the patient know if there is an increased risk of having the tested condition, and the results are provided in terms of possibilities or risk scores. Whereas, a diagnostic test —such as amniocentesis– provides a verdict on whether or not the patient has the condition tested. The results are definite; a diagnosis is made. Why then opt for a screening test instead of a diagnostic test? In the majority of cases, a screening test can be performed earlier during the pregnancy and is safer than a diagnostic test. As such, it is the ‘first step’ of the diagnostic journey, as only patients who are reported as ‘high risk’ on their screening tests would have to undergo invasive diagnostic tests.

The 1st and 2nd trimester screening tests currently in place include biochemical screening and ultrasound exams. These take place during weeks 11-13 of gestation and in weeks 15-20, and are the routinely established clinical tests to assess certain developmental milestones of the baby. The physician takes into account the fetus’s measurements, the pregnant woman’s hormonal levels and a set of variables such as age, weight or smoking factors to determine if there is an increased risk of the baby having one or more of the conditions tested. If the risk estimated is high, further testing in the form of diagnostic procedures –Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis– will be recommended by the physician to provide a definite diagnosis. Both of these are characterized as ‘invasive’, as they require inserting a needle through the abdomen into the placenta or the amniotic fluid to collect a sample. Critically, both carry a small risk of pregnancy loss so a lot of prospective parents struggle with the choice to continue with further testing.

The need for NIPT arises because the 1st and 2nd trimester traditional screening tests rely on statistical formulas that are not patient-specific. Consequently, a large number of patients end up having to unnecessarily undergo highly stressful and potentially dangerous procedures. Evidently, the basic principle of the ‘screening test’– to be able to test and accurately refer ‘high-risk’ patients for further testing – is not fully met by traditional measures. This leaves a crucial need for a more precise and sensitive screening method to be introduced in clinical practice to increase detection of genetic conditions. This need is addressed by the introduction of NIPTs.

With NIPT, genetic material (DNA) from the baby’s placenta, known as cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) can be extracted from the mother’s blood and examined. NIPT involves the use of specialized equipment and software, which analyze the baby’s DNA safely, accurately and affordably as early as the 10th week of pregnancy. Results are sent to the patients’ healthcare providers within a few working days. Thus, physicians and parents-to-be can learn earlier in the pregnancy if there is an increased possibility of the baby having a genetic disorder. If NIPT results are positive, the patient’s physician will recommend the next steps, taking other clinical findings also into consideration.

The role between traditional screening tests already established in clinical practice and NIPT is synergistic rather than antagonistic. Routine screening tests are routine for a reason –they work. However, the accuracy and sensitivity of traditional prenatal screening when it comes to detecting chromosomal abnormalities can be improved. NIPTs offer more accuracy and have the capacity to test for more conditions in this area, giving patients the information they need to know about the health of their baby. In traditional prenatal screening, age is the biggest factor when it comes to calculating a patient’s risk –the higher the patient’s age, the higher the risk is that the baby has a genetic condition. This reasoning is true for Down syndrome, one of the most common genetic disorders. However, age isn’t the only variable and a lot of younger pregnant women tend to go undiagnosed if they only undergo traditional prenatal screening. Moreover, there are a lot of conditions that are independent of maternal age that NIPT can screen for, such as microdeletions or single gene diseases. These conditions occur randomly and currently cannot be screened by traditional tests. It is therefore critical beneficial for all pregnant women to have an NIPT as it provides them with a lot of information they would not otherwise have had, had they only undergone standard prenatal screening.

NIPT is not just another screening test. NIPT gives parents the chance to know their baby without any risk to the pregnancy. NIPTs very high level of accuracy greatly improves prenatal screening. This means that even though pregnant women will still be referred for invasive procedures, those who do not need it will avoid the unnecessary risk exposure. The most important benefit NIPT offers to prospective parents is reassurance and time. Time that allows them to think, reflect and evaluate their choices; to gather all necessary information, decide on their future and manage their clinical care based on informed decisions.

Medical results should always be discussed with your healthcare providers.

For more information on what conditions our NIPT tests, VERACITY and VERAgene test for, please visit the tabs ‘VERACITY’ and ‘VERAgene’ on our website at www.nipd.com.


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NIPD Genetics - Privacy Policy

General Statement

This Privacy Policy applies only to www.nipd.com and its subdomains (hereafter collectively referred to as “Sites") that link to this policy. NIPD Genetics Sites are owned by NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd and are operated by NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd and on occasion by a third-party that is responsible for the technical maintenance of the Sites.

If, you do not agree with this Privacy Policy, please do not access or use any of NIPD Genetics Sites.

NIPD Genetics values your interest in NIPD Genetics, its products and its services. NIPD Genetics takes the protection of your data seriously.

Personal data for purposes of this Privacy Policy, is any information by which you can be individually identified, including, but not limited to, your name, profession, address, e-mail address, and telephone number.

You may contact NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd at
NIPD Genetics Public Company Ltd
Neas Engomis 31
Engomi, Nicosia
2409, Cyprus

NIPD Genetics Data Protection Officer can be reached at dpo@nipd.com

This Privacy Policy applies only to the Sites as defined above and which are operated by NIPD Genetics. The NIPD Genetics Privacy Policy seeks to inform the users of its Sites of the following:

NIPD Genetics will not use or share your information with anyone, except as described in this Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy does not apply to any information we might collect by other digital and offline means and or from other digital and offline sources. The use of information collected through our Sites shall be limited to the purposes under this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use to customers.

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data when you use our Sites and the choices you have associated with that data.

We use your data to provide and improve the Sites. By using the Sites, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from www.nipd.com

Type of personal information NIPD Genetics may collect through its Sites

Information Collection And Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Sites and services to you.

Personal Data

While using NIPD Genetics Sites, you may be asked to provide NIPD Genetics certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you ("Personal Information"). Personal Information that might be used to identify you includes, but is not limited to:

If you send us a query via our Contact us form, your email address, the content and any follow up emails are retained indefinitely.

Cookies and Usage Data

Usage Data

We may also collect information how the Sites are accessed and used ("Usage Data"). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer's Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Sites that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

Tracking & Cookies Data

We use cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on our Sites and hold certain information.

Cookies are files with small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Tracking technologies also used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze our Sites.

You can instruct your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, if you do not accept cookies, you may not be able to use some portions of our Sites.

Examples of Cookies we use:

Session Cookies. We use Session Cookies to operate our Sites.

Preference Cookies. We use Preference Cookies to remember your preferences and various settings.

Security Cookies. We use Security Cookies for security purposes.

Visitor behavior cookies. To understand how visitors use and navigate the Sites

Keyword cookies. To understand how visitors discover the Sites.

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www.nipd.com uses the collected data for various purposes:

Transfer of Data

Your information, including personal data, may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of your province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside Cyprus and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including personal data, to Cyprus and process it there.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by your submission of such information represents your agreement to that transfer.

www.nipd.com will take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of your personal data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Data

NIPD Genetics complies with the protection of personal data regulation and will not sale or trade your personal data.

NIPD Genetics may disclose your personal data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

Security of Data

The security of your data is important to us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your Personal Data, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Service Providers

We may employ third party companies and individuals to facilitate, maintain or operate our Sites ("Service Providers"), to provide the SItes on our behalf, to perform service-related services or to assist us in analyzing how our Sites is used.

These third parties have access to your Personal Data only to perform these tasks on our behalf and are obligated not to disclose or use it for any other purpose.

Analytics

We may use third-party Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Sites.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Google uses the data collected to track and monitor the use of our Service. This data is shared with other Google services. Google may use the collected data to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network.

You can opt-out of having made your activity on the Service available to Google Analytics by installing the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. The add-on prevents the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js, analytics.js, and dc.js) from sharing information with Google Analytics about visits activity.

For more information on the privacy practices of Google, please visit the Google Privacy & Terms web page

Access to your personal data, correction, deletion, and Opting Out

You have the right to review, update or delete any of your personal data by sending a request at NIPD Genetics Personal Data Officer pdo@nipd.com

Links to Other Sites

Our Sites may contain links to other sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party's site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.

Children's Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 18 ("Children").

We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 18. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your Children has provided us with Personal Data, please contact us. If we become aware that we have collected Personal Data from children without verification of parental consent, we take steps to remove that information from our servers.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

We may update our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify you of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let you know via email and/or a prominent notice on our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the "effective date" at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact pdo@nipd.com

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