Genetics Northern California

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a screening test that identifies women who are more likely to be carrying a fetus with certain birth defects. NIPT is done by taking a blood sample when a woman is 10 weeks or later in pregnancy. The test looks at tiny fragments of fetal DNA found naturally in a pregnant woman's blood. This screening test is sometimes called cell-free fetal DNA testing. NIPT is available to women who are at higher risk for chromosome conditions including:

  • Women 35 or older on their due date
  • Women who have a screen positive result from the California State Prenatal Screening Program
  • Women who had a previous child with a chromosome condition

NIPT screens for select chromosome conditions, including: Down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13, Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, XXX syndrome, and XYY syndrome.

NIPT video

Statements from professional organizations about NIPT:

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) 2013: Cell free DNA screening is not a simple blood test

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) 2015: Cell-free DNA Screening for Fetal Aneuploidy

American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) 2016: Non-invasive prenatal screening for fetal aneuploidy 

International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis (ISPD) 2015 : Position Statement from the Chromosome Abnormality Screening Committee


Last reviewed: January 2017

Reviewed by: Kaiser Permanente Genetics