The accuracy of gender blood tests- Everything explained
Some parents don't want to wait long to know the gender of their baby. If you are one of them, then one question might come to your mind about the reliability of a gender blood test. Finding out whether you are having a boy or a girl is precious, and once you know the gender, you can choose the baby's name and start setting up the nursery!
Modern technology now makes it possible to identify a baby's gender. The gender blood test or NIPT helps determine whether the baby has some chromosomal or genetic disorders. And in addition to that, you can also get to know the gender of your baby. But how accurate are these blood tests for gender? Let's find out.
The non-invasive prenatal test, also known as the NIPT, is an early-sex blood test in which a medical professional draws blood and examines the cell-free fetal DNA present in the blood during early pregnancy. One can use it to determine the fetus' gender as well.
A cell-free DNA: what is it?
During pregnancy, the placenta releases a small amount of fetal DNA into the mother's blood, known as cell-free fetal DNA. This DNA is examined by doctors for a wide range of genetic abnormalities, including trisomy 13, Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome, and other issues related to sex chromosomes.
This blood test for gender is performed during the tenth week of pregnancy. If the results are positive, your doctor may advise you to have a diagnostic test, chorionic villus sampling, or amniocentesis. Although these diagnostic procedures are quite accurate, they are intrusive and have a slight risk of miscarriage.
The accuracy of the NIPT test
The NIPT test offers a lot of information without requiring any intrusive procedures. You don't need to wait long to take this test; you can do it at 9 or 10 weeks pregnant. This test was first designed to look for chromosomal abnormalities, and now it is also used to determine fetal sex.
According to research, NIPTs can accurately identify the chance of Down syndrome, Patau syndrome, or Edwards syndrome by 97 to 99 percent. But when it comes to identifying rare genetic disorders, these tests are not that reliable.
If we talk about the gender of the baby, the NIPT tests are 98-99.9% accurate for fetal sex. A boy is on the way if it detects a Y chromosome; a girl is on the way if no Y chromosome is found. A sex determination made by the NIPT has a 1% probability of being incorrect.
When blood is taken too early in the pregnancy, then there is a chance that there is not much fetal genetic material in the mother's blood to provide an accurate result. But when done correctly, NIPT is quite accurate.
Who should get a NIPT test?
In the past, NIPTs were only advised for women:
who had a high-risk pregnancy
who were over 35,
who has previously given birth to a child who has a genetic abnormality
Or if there is a family history of genetic conditions.
However, experts now advise that a doctor should go over the screening choices with all pregnant women. Whether a lady wants to take the exam or not is a personal preference.
Why should you get the NIPT test?
When it comes to diagnostic tests for chromosomal and genetic disorders, fetal DNA is acquired using an intrusive method in these procedures. There is a slight chance of miscarriage with this invasive procedure. Many pregnant moms are hesitant to undergo invasive testing procedures as it causes a risk.
NIPT presents a significantly lower risk of gathering medical information from fragments of fetal DNA in a mother's blood sample, particularly for disorders for which screening is often provided to all pregnant women. The most prevalent and mildest of these aneuploidy disorders is Down's Syndrome, which has an abnormally high number of chromosomes.
Research has found that women prefer NIPT, and it is quite popular among them. This is because it reduces the number of invasive tests performed and also decreases the chance of miscarriages brought on by invasive testing.
The three primary advantages of NIPT:
As you have read above, NIPT has a high accuracy rate, so compared to other screening tests, it is more reliable.
NIPT allows for earlier screening; you can get tested around the 9th or 10th week of pregnancy. So, it is beneficial for parents who don't want to wait long to get the results.
It poses less danger because it is non-invasive and just needs a mother's blood sample as opposed to other invasive diagnostic procedures like chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis.
Another way to determine gender: ultrasound
Ultrasound is another method for figuring out the baby's gender. Its accuracy rate is over 90%. However, to determine the gender via ultrasound, it is advised that one must wait till the 18th week of pregnancy.
Baby boy and girl seem identical on ultrasound scans until the 14th week of pregnancy. An ultrasound scan can more accurately determine a baby's gender if you wait until 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Several parents prefer to know as much as possible and as soon as possible. It is beneficial to detect the problem as soon as possible if there is any. This ensures you get better treatment for your baby, and you can also arrange for immediate medical requirements. And the added bonus is that you also get to know the gender of your baby.
You will therefore have more time to prepare for your baby's arrival. Knowing your baby's gender might be helpful when organizing baby showers, gender reveals parties, decorating the nursery, etc.