The Harmony test - also known as Non-Invasive Prenatal testing or NIPT - is a blood test which can test for various genetic abnormalities including Downs Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome and Patau Syndrome. It is being rolled out slowly in the UK to replace the CVS and Amnio testing usually done after your 12-week scan.
The Harmony test can be taken as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy and has a false positive rate of just 0.1%. With the Harmony test, you can expect to receive your results within 10 working days.
One of the great things about NIPT it completely eliminates the risk of miscarriage for fetal testing, which with Amniocentesis is 1% and CVS is 2%.
What is Amniocentesis?
Amniocentesis is one of the current procedures used to diagnose genetic abnormalities in an unborn baby. The procedure involves taking a sample from the amniotic sack that surrounds and protects the fetus. It can be dangerous though as a slight miscalculation can cause irreparable damage to the sack resulting in miscarriage.
What is CVS?
Chrionic Villius Sampling - or CVS - is another procedure offered by the NHS currently to diagnose genetic conditions. This procedure involves taking a sample from the placenta and of course carries the risk of damaging the placenta meaning a miscarriage occurs.
What are the perks of having the Harmony test?
Besides carrying no risk of miscarriage there are several other perks of having the Harmony test during your pregnancy.
- Is done early as to make an informed decision - There is no judgement here on Raising Harry. We understand that having a child with special needs is a personal choice and feel that by having the test early you can do all the research you feel you need to to make an informed decision and that is exactly why we started this website. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
- Can test for other things - With the Harmony test, you can also get what is called X Y testing which means that you can find out the gender of your baby but it also tests for things such as XXY.
- Low false positive rate - With being over 99% accurate you can trust the information you are given.
The development of the harmony test in different countries has affected the rate of children with special needs born.
Termination rates for downs syndrome
U.K - 90%
France - 77%
U.S - 67%
Denmark - 98%
Iceland - 100%
But why are the termination rates so high? I think, honestly, it's fear and misinformation. And that is why I wanted to start this website, to show the positives of having a child with special needs.
I am all for the Harmony test, from my personal point of view it is a good thing if having a child with special needs is something you feel strongly about, and the main positive for me is the fact that there is no risk of miscarriage makes this the best thing, and while it is not available on the NHS at the moment if you can afford it (runs at roughly £400 for the testing and private scan) I would highly recommend getting it.