Down’s syndrome affects 1 in 1000 babies and is something that happens at the conception stage when the genetic material from the egg and sperm first join together. Screening in pregnancy is therefore commonplace but despite providing some idea of the likelihood of your baby having Down’s syndrome, screening doesn’t provide a definite answer. That is left to the kinds of diagnostic tests that are carried out only if the screening shows a higher chance of Down’s. Harmony is diagnostic test.
Risks & Accuracy
The Harmony Test is a relative newcomer to popular Down’s diagnostic tests. Prior to Harmony and still common antenatal diagnostic tests (although proving to be a lot less popular now that the safer Harmony Test is here) include:
CVS – Chronic Villus Sampling
CVS is a test that’s only really carried out if other screening, tests, family history may indicate that it could be appropriate, and the patient of course has the choice of whether to go ahead with it. CVS is generally carried out between 11 and 13 weeks. As well as detecting Down’s CVS can also detect some other genetic conditions.
The CVS test involves your obstetrician taking a sample of your placenta. The sample is taken by needle through the tummy and womb, or by forceps and a thin tube through the cervix (guided by ultrasound).
In essence the CVS is an invasive procedure because it requires cells to be taken from the placenta and therefore it does carry a 1% to 2% risk of miscarriage. There have also been some rare cases of infection.
Amniocentesis is offered where there it is believed that the baby is at significant risk of developing a serious condition. The test is usually offered between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and although it has a lower miscarriage risk than CVS (about 1%), Amniocentesis is also an invasive procedure because a needle is used to extract some amniotic fluid for testing. This is the fluid that surrounds the foetus in the womb. Just as with CVS, the invasive nature of Amniocentesis also brings the very small risk of infection.
Why Could Harmony Be A Better Option For Down’s Testing?
Quite simply the Harmony Test is very accurate and extremely safe.
The Harmony Prenatal Test uses a simple blood test rather than an invasive procedure. It does not involve any disturbance of the womb or placenta, and it is this that dramatically reduces the risk of miscarriage. The Harmony Test can also correctly predict Down’s syndrome in more than 99% of cases because it can isolate ‘cell free’ Fetal DNA (the building bricks of chromosomes). This makes the Harmony Test very accurate.
This revolutionary test is predicted to reduce the need for invasive procedures by over 90%!
Safety and certainty are a powerful combination in Down’s testing, and this is the reason why Harmony has become so popular so quickly. You can find out more about the Harmony Prenatal Test on my website here.
How do I go about booking a test?
If you would like make an appointment with me for a Harmony Prenatal Test please call 0203 318 0263.
What Happens Next?
I will then organize an ultrasound on the day of the test to confirm the pregnancy is 10 weeks or more and also to assess for multiple pregnancy. This is because the test is not used in multiple pregnancies. You and your partner will then have a consultation with me to go through the test, and the blood sample is then taken. Your blood sample is then sent to a lab in the USA where the test itself is carried out. You can expect to receive the results within 2 weeks.