From spotting markers for detecting Down syndrome to determining the sex of your baby, learn more about the latest alternative to an amnio test.
Chances are that you're familiar with the importance of prenatal testing. If you are looking for something less invasive than an amniocentesis, you do have options. The Harmony Prenatal Test by Ariosa, developed by medical doctors and scientists, uses a simple blood test to analyze the cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the blood to detect a mama-to-be's risk of carrying a fetus with genetic conditions. Using a combination of statistical factors — including maternal age, gestational age and percentage of fetal DNA in the sample — this non-invasive prenatal test can assess the risk that your fetus carries the trisomies that cause Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome. However, the Harmony test does not yet assess risk for mosaicism, partial trisomies or translocations.
And for those eager to paint the nursery, Harmony includes an optional test to determine the sex of the baby along with sex chromosome (X, Y) conditions.
Boasted as the first test to have exclusively studied more than 6,000 women in an average-risk population, Harmony can be performed as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy with a more than 99 percent accuracy rate for fetal trisomy. And, unlike an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), the non-invasive Harmony test has no risk of miscarriage or other risk to the mother and fetus. Yet, this prenatal test still provides an individualized, quantitative risk score for each trisomy.
"Ariosa aims to change prenatal care as we know it today," said Ken Song, M.D., CEO of Ariosa Diagnostics. "The Harmony test is more accurate than current Down syndrome screening options, and it's the most affordable non-invasive prenatal test available for patients. It has the possibility to influence care worldwide for the millions of women who become pregnant each year. Earlier, more reliable assessment of chromosome conditions can help inform and empower moms-to-be, and tests like Harmony can reduce the need for unnecessary amniocentesis and additional procedures."
The Harmony test can be ordered for all single pregnancies, including those peas in the pod assisted by in vitro fertilization. Unfortunately, it is not yet available for women carrying multiples, such as twins or triplets. However, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends cfDNA testing for high-risk women only.
Whether you're hoping to determine the sex of your baby or get some peace of mind that your baby-to-be is developing healthy, the Harmony Prenatal Test by Ariosa is a non-invasive option that is gaining attention. While expectant mothers who show markers for fetal abnormalities may still need amnio tests down the road, for those looking for answers early on, this latest alternative to an amnio test is just what the doctor ordered.
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