What is it?

Tiny fragment of cell-free DNA circulate in the blood of every individual. When a woman is pregnant, some of this cell-free DNA that is circulating out of cells comes from the foetus and even more comes from the placenta. With the aid of specialised analysis of this cell-free DNA, it is possible to detect whether the foetus has Down's syndrome, Edward's syndrome or Patau syndrome. If requested, Turner's syndrome, as well as Triple X or Klinefelter's syndrome can also be detected. This testing is non-invasive": the testing is done using a simple blood draw from the mother, and poses no risk to the baby (which is not the case with chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis).

The NIPT is a screening test (e.g. an estimation of the probability of having a specific defect). Is it not a replacement for an amniocentesis. An abnormal NIPT result should also be confirmed with an amniocentesis.

Practical

When do you have the NIPT done?

The NIPT can be performed after the tenth week of preganancy, but if you would like this testing reimbursed, then you will need to wait until the twelfth week of pregnancy. The NIPT can be drawn after the nucal fold measurement.

Reimbursement

Since 1 July 2017, the NIPT has been reimbursed in Belgium.

  • Women who do not have a preferential pay a personal responsibility portion up to a maximum of €8.68 euros.
  • The NIPT is provided completely free of charge for women who have the right to an increased compensation.

If you are not registered with a Belgian health insurance company, the cost of the NIPT is €260.00 euros.

Informed consent: what do you want to know or not know?

The decision to have the NIPT done is yours; you are not obligated to have it done.

A special request form is required for the reimbursement for NIPT. Your gynaecologist needs to fill it out with some required information. You will also sign an informed consent form before the NIPT is done.

  • If you do have the NIPT done, then you will be tested for the standard conditions of Down's syndrome, Patau syndrome and Edwards' syndrome.
  • Would you like to know the gender? This is your decision. If you decide to know the gender, you will mark this separately.
  • If you would like to know if there is an increased risk for Turner's syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome and/or Triple X syndrome, then you will mark this explicitly on the form. In order to make this decision, you are expected to thoroughly read the information about these conditions, as given in the leaflet. Please think about this carefully.

You may always talk about it with your gynaecologist when the twelfth week ultrasound is done. You can always approach him or her with your questions.

Centres and specialist areas

Pregnancy and birth

Latest publication date: 22/02/2021