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The harmony test is one of the latest and leading DNA based non-invasive prenatal screening blood test with incredibly high sensitivity for estimating the risk of a fetus with Downs syndrome (a congenital disorder arising from chromosomal defect causing various physical and mental disability).
The harmony test is regarded as the most accurate screening tests available for Down's syndrome as compared to other traditional tests such as combined screening, which is currently the main method of screening for Down's syndrome offered in the mainstream NHS.
Down’s syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a congenital disorder arising from a chromosomal defect during fetal development which causes various physical and mental disabilities. Down's syndrome is typically not inherited - it's a simple the result of a one-off genetic change in the sperm of egg. In every pregnancy, there is a small chance of having a child with Down's syndrome, but the likelihood increases with the age of the mother.
The Harmony blood test involves taking a blood sample from the mother, just like a routine blood test. The mother must be at least 10 weeks into her pregnancy.
The blood sample is sent and analysed in a specialist laboratory where next-generation sequencing technology, coupled with advanced bioinformatics analysis will detect free-floating fetal DNA (cfDNA), which is a marker in the mother's blood of baby's DNA. The resultant information will be generated into a detailed risk analysis report.
This is a relatively new highly accurate alternative to the Downs Syndrome Screening Service provided by the NHS. It has been reported that 1 in 30 women can be given a high result with the NHS combined screening and are advised to undergo an invasive testing such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to determine baby's chromosomal structure. These procedures carry a 1% risk of miscarriage. NIPT is a perfect risk-free alternative as there is no risk of miscarriage from this non-invasive test.
While the Harmony test or any other NIPT is NOT classed as a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or CVS it will seek to reassure you that you are making the right choices should you need further testing.
This test is performed to assess the risk of certain chromosomal defects including Trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome), Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, X/Y sex chromosomal aneuploidies.
The test can also check the sex of your baby (optional).
A scan is also performed in conjunction with the test to confirm fetal viability, how far along the pregnancy is, and if the mother is having twin or multiple babies. We can also provide an estimated due date.
The Harmony test can be used for twin pregnancy. It can even be used if the pregnancy is conceived with donated eggs.
It can not be performed for triplets/multiple pregnancies.
This test will not be able to detect structural abnormalities such as spina bifida, heart defects and growth problems.
Your blood will be transported to a UK based Harmony Approved pathology laboratory where they will be analysed and reported. Results for your test will be available in 8-12 days due to delays in processing caused by COVID-19.
The Harmony test results take into account your age, pregnancy gestation and the DNA fraction in the blood sample. The results are shown on a report in a graphical format as either "low or high" risk for the different the trisomies.
The Harmony test is a screening test. A screening test is one that is performed to identify those that are at higher risk or more likely to develop a specified disease or condition. It can not however provide confirmation and therefore those identified as having higher risk may need further diagnostic tests. A diagnostic test is a procedure that can identify a specific condition, disease or illness.
This test screens for Down's syndrome as well as a few other genetic conditions. Therefore this test will give you information about the risk your baby has for these specific conditions.
As with all screening tests, false-positives and false negatives may occur however these are much lower in this test as compared to traditional tests available.
Should you have a high-risk result you have the option for further diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
Does the Harmony blood test ever need to be repeated?
Occasionally there is insufficient fetal DNA in the blood sample obtained from mother to obtain a result. Therefore a repeat sample would be needed to be collected. This occurs in about 2% of tests with overall no result rate of 3% (2% due to insufficient fetal fraction and 1% due to other reasons).
If there is no result from your initial test we would offer one free re-test.
What is Included?
Harmony Blood test including Viability & Dating Ultrasound Scan with a report and any measurements.
A full bladder may be required for this pregnancy scan, therefore, please drink 0.5 litres of fluid approximately 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment and please try your best not to empty your bladder before the examination.
An internal scan may be needed particularly in the early stages of your pregnancy. This may be offered at the start of the appointment instead of the scan over your tummy as it may give better information..
We offer a wide range of pregnancy ultrasound scans as well as blood profiles, please feel free to have a look over the complete range by following the quick links below.
We at The Scan Clinic, started with a simple goal - Quality Healthcare with a Personal Touch. It is this mission that continues to drive us to this day and in this current global crisis. We continually strive to find the right balance between delivering on our mission and maintaining high levels of health and safety for our clients as well as our staff.
We have always maintained high levels of cleanliness and infection control and since the start of the pandemic have taken additional daily infection control measures across the clinic as well as ensuring all staff have adequate PPE (personal protective equipment).
You will notice that some of our services are no longer available at the moment and this is because we are limiting our range of available services to essential scans only until further notice.
We have been continually monitoring the ongoing situation and taking all official guidance, however as this is an evolving situation the information and guidelines given below are subject to change and can change with immediate effect. We appreciate this can be challenging but please bear in mind that the steps we take are for the health and safety of all our staff and clients and we really appreciate your support and understanding to follow them.
If you have any questions, queries or concerns about any of this then please get in touch with our customer care team who are more than happy to help.
Hand hygiene is important please ensure you are washing your hands regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant.