What is the Harmony Test?
How accurate is it?
When should I have it?
Will it tell me the sex of my baby…and other commonly asked questions.
The ‘Harmony’ test or NIPT (non-invasive prenatal test) is a way of screening for a range of genetic chromosome abnormalities (i.e. Downs Syndrome)
During pregnancy a woman’s bloodstream contains some DNA from the placenta and this is almost exactly the same DNA as her growing baby. This is because the placenta and umbilical cord links both bloodstreams through a process of exchange and transport of substances (i.e. feeding nutrients to baby and eliminating waste products)
The Harmony test looks in particular for extra or missing chromosomes, if a condition has extra chromosomes it is referred to as Trisomy (i.e. Normal chromosomes are in pairs, Tri=3 therefore is abnormal with an extra one)
Trisomy 21 = Downs Syndrome (99% accuracy)
Trisomy 18 = Edwards Syndrome (97% accuracy)
Trisomy 13 = Patau Syndrome (92% accuracy)
Remember, the NIPT is a ‘screening’ test and therefore can only predict risk factors, it isn’t diagnostic. Also, as with all other screening options in pregnancy, you can accept or decline.
X chromosome – females have 2 of these
Y chromosome – males have one X and one Y
Because of this, the Harmony is able to report the sex of the baby (only if you want to know!)
You can have the Harmony test as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy and it involves obtaining a small amount of blood from the woman, this is why it is classed as non-invasive test compared to the amniocentesis; (a diagnostic test) which involves inserting a fine needle into the amniotic fluid sac and withdrawing a sample; or CVS (chorionic villus sampling) where some of the cells of the placenta are taken from where it’s attached to the wall of the uterus.
For this reason, the Harmony test is proving increasingly popular however it is unlikely to be offered on the NHS.
Your Private Midwife will be happy to give you any information you need on screening tests in pregnancy and can also arrange the Harmony test, quickly and easily in the comfort of your own home, if required.
The results are available quite quickly, within 5-7 days, and you will of course have the opportunity to discuss these with your midwife. If any further testing is recommended your midwife will explain exactly what your choices are and help you to make an informed decision. Often, your private midwife will be able to accompany you to appointments at the hospital/clinic, providing a trusted face and moral support for potentially challenging discussions.
If you would like more information on this or any other aspect of your pregnancy or birth care, please contact our office Client Liaison team who will be delighted to discuss your requirements.