Nowadays there are several tests you can take in early pregnancy to detect abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. The most common is the NT ultrasound, which is non-invasive but has a high rate of false-positives and is not a diagnostic tool (it merely estimates the risk that the fetus may be affected). It is often the first choice for parents that will then choose a high-risk amniocentesis or CVS test if the results are positive. Both tests are considered high-risk because of the likelihood of miscarriage (around 1 in 300 or 1 in 360 respectively).
If you’re last pregnancy was more than a year ago, or if you are newly pregnant (or trying) you may not have heard of the MaterniT21 test. It wasn’t available when I was pregnant with Frances, but I was able to take it for my current pregnancy. The MaterniT21 test is an alternative to amniocentesis and CVS that has no risk to the fetus. It has a 98% accuracy rate for detecting Down Syndrome and there is a false-positive rate of about 0.2%. It has similar rates for Edwards Syndrome, Patau Syndrome, sex chromosomal abnormalities, and a handful of other syndromes. Many parents choose to have it done in addition to the NT ultrasound, which can indicate congenital heart disease in addition to abnormalities.
The best part about MaterniT21 is that all it takes is a blood draw (from mom, not the baby). It can be done as early as 10 weeks, and takes 7-10 business days to get the results. Not only does MaterniT21 test for chromosomal abnormalities, but it also tells you the gender. I love science!
Before we heard about MaterniT21, our plan was to have an NT ultrasound to check for abnormalities. If the results came back positive, it would have been a really tough decision to do an amniocentesis or CVS. I’m not over 35 and we have no history of chromosomal abnormalities in our family, so it would likely have been a false-positive that would have caused a bunch of stress and worry. It was a relief to not have to consider such high-risk tests.
Since the second trimester ultrasound is not medically necessary, our plan was to skip it if we did the NT ultrasound. This would have made the gender a surprise, which wasn’t our first choice (we really wanted to know).
Another bonus for MaterniT21 is the low cost. Of course it depends on your insurance, but it was cheaper than the ultrasound we got with Franci. In my opinion, the MaterniT21 test is a cheap, no-risk, quick and easy way to have peace of mind as early as 10 weeks.
Has anyone else had the MaterniT21 test?