From 24th July: you and your +1 guest (no children currently allowed) are required to wear a mask or face covering when attending appointments at Ultrasound Direct clinics, in line with UK government guidance. If you attend without a suitable face covering single-use masks are available to buy at the time of your appointment, subject to availability. For more information please see our COVID-19 Information page.
Available to women from 16 years of age.
This service includes a Non-Invasive Prenatal Test in the form of a blood test and also gives you the opportunity to see your little one as we also include a diagnostic ultrasound scan. Availability of Harmony varies by location. A sample of your blood needs to be taken either by us at the time of your appointment or privately by your midwife, GP or local phlebotomist.
When you book online, depending on your chosen location you may be contacted to arrange the most convenient way for you to have this done close by. You will receive the results from your baby's DNA blood approximately 7-10 working days following your appointment.
Once you have your results we always recommend that you present them to your usual healthcare professional whose contact details we take at the time of booking. Your choice of a free rescan may be appropriate if we are unable to perform the primary purpose of this scan.
All of our scans are performed by a professionally qualified Sonographer with diagnostic obstetric scanning experience.
The NIPT analyses your baby’s DNA (in the maternal blood) which can indicate the probability of Down's syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18) and Patau’s Syndrome (Trisomy 13). On request we can also yield a result for the gender of your baby, all from a maternal blood sample.
The ultrasound scan will determine viability (your baby’s heartbeat), if single or multiple foetus are present and accurately date your pregnancy. Very occasionally it may involve transvaginal / internal scanning.
Need to expose lower abdomen so ideally wear separate garments i.e trousers or skirt and top.
Drink 0.5 Ltr (1 pint) clear fluid approx 1 hour before appointment time.
Please do not empty your bladder before the examination.
Please bring your hand held notes with you to the scan.
The NIPT is analysed in the UK by our authorised partners: Harmony via TDL. In booking a NIPT appointment with us you are agreeing to your personal information being shared with the relevant partners solely for the purpose of this test. Your express permission will also be requested during your appointment.
Cell-free foetal DNA (cff DNA) comes from the placenta. It is first detectable from about 4-5 weeks’ gestation and reaches the required level needed for testing by 10 weeks’ gestation in most pregnancies.
There are three possible results from NIPT for Down syndrome:
A high chance of the foetus being affected by Down syndrome. An invasive test is required to confirm the result.
A low chance of the foetus being affected by Down syndrome.
Inconclusive results happen in up to 4% of cases. This is usually because the proportion of foetal DNA present in the sample is not high enough to give an accurate result. NIPT may be repeated with the hope that the cfDNA levels will have increased due to the increased gestation. NIPT detection rate is around 98% of all babies with Down, Edwards and Patau syndromes.
A high probability test result will apply to at least one fetus:
The relative proportion of cell-free fetal DNA is reduced in women with a high BMI as they have more of their own cell-free DNA circulating in their blood.
This may increase the chance of getting an inconclusive result.
A microdeletion is the absence of a small piece of chromosome and is named by the area of the chromosome that is absent. The Harmony test can, for an additional cost, look for 22q11.2microdeletion, the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability and heart defects after Down syndrome. However, currently due to a lack of research into the reliability of this test Ultrasound Direct are not offering this as an additional option at this present time.
In the event of unexpected findings: we will offer clear advice on the next steps available to you and will offer to contact the local hospital on your behalf.
Should you receive bad news in your scan you are welcome to take time in private in our clinics to process the news and gather your thoughts before leaving: we never want you to feel rushed.
The following links may provide you with further, useful information regarding our NIPT with scan service:
'NHS - Screening tests for you and your baby'
We use the latest and safest technology to transfer your images to your device so you can share them with loved ones as soon as you leave the clinic