Akolekar R, Beta J, Picciarelli G, Ogilvie C, D'Antonio F. Procedure-related risk of miscarriage following amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2015; 45:(1)16-26

Enoch N. The Ups of Down Syndrome. Br J Midwifery. 2019; 27:(4)211-213

ASHG: Dutch nationwide NIPT implementation study sees 42 percent uptake after first year. 2018. (accessed 21 May 2019)

Couple at centre of Holles Street abortion case ‘utterly, utterly devastated’. 2019. (accessed 21 May 2019)

Lancaster V. NIPT: an issue to handle with care. Br J Midwifery. 2019; 27:(5)

Perinatal NIPT/cell free DNA screening predictive value calculator. 2019. (accessed 21 May 2019)

Non-invasive prenatal testing for trisomy: part 2. 2018. (accessed on 23 March 2019)

Taylor-Phillips S, Freeman K, Geppert J Accuracy of non-invasive prenatal testing using cell-free DNA for detection of Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2016; 6:(1)

NIPT: give parents the full story

02 June 2019
4 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 6


Writing in response to an article on NIPT in last month's issue of British Journal of Midwifery, Colette Lloyd explains why the marketing of the test can leave parents lacking vital information

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to read the article (Lancaster, 2019) in British Journal of Midwifery (BJM), discussing the importance of continuing the conversation around prenatal screening and, in particular, non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).

One of the many issues with NIPT is that some of the ways it has been described during commercial marketing are misleading to consumers and professionals. The concern is that women may then make decisions informed by the ‘popular’ view of what NIPT is, rather than the factual. Some of these misleading statements are quite subtle but important.

The DNA analysed is a mixture of the mother's DNA and the DNA from the placenta. This is not DNA from the fetus and is one of the reasons that the test may be wrong, due to placental mosaicism. Describing the DNA as ‘fetal’ or ‘from the fetus’ is at best misleading and at worst incorrect, as barely any DNA passes from the fetus through the placenta—certainly not enough to give results for NIPT. It also gives the impression that it is the baby's DNA being directly analysed, which may, in women's minds, imply greater accuracy than is possible with NIPT.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month