NIFTY – Fetal DNA testing

NIFTY, or Non-Invasive Fetal Trisomy, is a simple blood test that can identify disorders associated with an irregular number of chromosomes in the fetus including also chromosomal deletions and duplications, Unlike an amniocentesis prenatal examination, the NIFTY test poses no risk to the fetus or the mother.

The NIFTY test is available in two versions: NIFTY-Basic and NIFTY-Extended. NIFTY-Basic tests for the three most common syndromes and the sex chromosomes. NIFTY-Extended tests all 23 pairs of the fetal chromosomes and can also identify deletions and duplications. This extended test has successfully identified more than 40 syndromes thus far.

Extensive clinical trial have been conducted regarding the most common syndromes –Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (Trisomy 13), and NIFTY has demonstrated a 100% sensitivity rate. Therefore NIFTY is defined as a screening test with an accuracy rate of over 99% for these syndromes. The accuracy rate of the NIFTY test regarding the less common disorders is still being studied and has yet to be determined.

NIFTY is conducted from the 10th week of pregnancy and onwards and is appropriate also for pregnancies with twins.

NIFTY is unable to check for or identify every potential fetal defect and it is therefore advisable to consult with your physician concerning the most appropriate and relevant tests for you.

Testing procedure

For the pregnant woman, NIFTY is just like any other blood test. The blood sample is drawn at one of the clinics that conducts the test and is sent to the BGI laboratories. Utilizing advanced technology, the labs analyze the free DNA found in the mother's blood, some 10% of which originates from the fetus. AML Israel handles the local logistical aspect of the testing.

FAQ

  • What is NIPT or what is fetal DNA?

    Flowing through the mother's blood there is also some free DNA, some 10% of which originates from the fetus. This is fetal DNA. Using sophisticated technologies, this DNA can be analyzed for the purpose of identifying fetal abnormalities.
    The NIPT analyzes the fetal DNA.
  • For which syndromes does NIFTY test?

    NIFTY-Extended is the most comprehensive test of its kind and the only test that examines all 23 pairs of the fetal chromosomes. The test can identify syndromes caused by an irregular number of chromosomes or by chromosomal deletions or duplications (more than 40 syndromes have been identified thus far). NIFTY-Basic tests for the most common trisomies (Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome) and the sex chromosomes.

  • Is the NIFTY test accurate?

    BGI have conducted a series of clinical trials to determine the accuracy of the NIFTY test. These trials showed a 100% accuracy rate with regards to identifying fetuses with Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome. Nevertheless, due to the innovativeness of the test, and to be on the safe side, the test is currently defined as a screening test with an accuracy rate of above 99%. The accuracy rate of the NIFTY-Extended test regarding less common disorders is still being studied and has yet to be determined.

  • Does a NIFTY test replace an AFP test?

    The NIFTY test is significantly more accurate than an Alpha Fetoprotein test when it comes to identifying Down syndrome (Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome, too). Thus, with regard to such conditions, the NIFTY test certainly can replace an AFP test. However, an AFP test can indicate risks associated with defects for which the NIFTY does not test, such as spina bifida. Therefore, it is advisable to carry out an AFP test even if one decides to undergo the NIFTY test.

  • Does the NIFTY test replace nuchal translucency screening or a fetal ultrasound?

    The NIFTY test does not replace these tests as it does not test for all the defects covered by such examinations.

  • Does the test require any preparation beforehand?

    The test does not require any preparation. Just please set an appointment ahead (1-700-700-880).

  • Where is the NIFTY test conducted?

    The blood sample is drawn at one of the certified clinics in Israel that come under the logistical management of AML Israel. The blood sample is then sent to the BGI research institute's clinical laboratories that work under the ISO/IEC 17025 quality control standard.

  • Do the HMOs (Maccabi, Meuhedet and Clalit) and private insurance companies cover some of the cost?

    Currently, some HMOs and private insurers partially cover the costs of the NIFTY test. We advise all women to consult on the matter with their insurers.

  • When are the results available?

    In general, results are received within ten days. Very rarely technical reasons may require retesting. Obviously, in such rare instances results may be delayed further.

  • What is the difference between NIFTY-Basic and NIFTY-Extended?

    NIFTY-Basic tests for the most common trisomies (Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome) and the sex chromosomes. NIFTY-Extended in addition tests all 23 pairs of the fetal chromosomes and can also identify duplications or deletions (NIFTY-Extended has successfully identified more than 90 syndromes thus far).

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