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Simple blood test provides important genetic information early in pregnancy

Harmony Prenatal Test (NIPT) offered by Dynacare

At the age of 37, creative director and musician Breya Rolt is thrilled to be pregnant. She and her husband Dan met and married later than most of their friends, and despite perfect health, struggled to conceive. At last, after two years of trying on their own, and then pursuing fertility treatment, a baby is on the way.
 
Breya is an upbeat person who believes “knowledge is power”. That’s why when her doctors recommended the Harmony Prenatal Test (NIPT) offered by Dynacare, she jumped at the chance.
 
“I think everyone should have this opportunity. It’s good information that you can get without any risk to your pregnancy or the baby,” she says.
 
The Harmony Prenatal Test can be conducted as early as 10 weeks and screens for Down Syndrome plus two other rare but devastating genetic disorders (Edward’s Syndrome and Patau Syndrome).
 
All it requires is a blood sample from the mother – no invasive procedure, no needle into the womb as is in amniocentesis (testing of amniotic fluid) or chorionic villus sampling (testing of cells from the placenta). And Dynacare provides the results within seven to 10 business days.
 
Dr. Philip Wyatt, a Toronto geneticist and medical consultant to Dynacare, explains the science behind Harmony Prenatal Test. “We’re now able to extract DNA or genetic material that is derived from the fetus by analyzing the mother’s blood. It contains both the mother’s genetic material and the fetal genetic material.
 
“With Down Syndrome, the results are more than 99 per cent accurate. Down Syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality and, in almost all cases, there is no family history. That makes it a significant concern for all women,” says Dr. Wyatt.
 
With the availability of this new, reliable screening test, the number of invasive tests – amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling – has dropped dramatically around the world. That’s because, for most parents-to-be, a “low risk” result from the Harmony Prenatal Test is enough to give them peace of mind. Typically, invasive testing is recommended if the Harmony test indicates there is a “high risk” of one of the genetic conditions.
 
Breya’s result was “low risk”, and she and Dan are looking forward to becoming parents in a few months. “To be honest, it was a relief. We’re very glad to know more about our baby’s health,” she says.
      
Dynacare is one of Canada’s leading medical laboratory testing companies and offers the Harmony Prenatal Test at locations across the country. If a woman chooses, a specially-trained Dynacare technician can also come to her home to draw the blood sample. In most regions of Canada, there is no charge for this service.
 
The Harmony Prenatal Test is one of two NIPT tests that are publicly funded for women who meet eligibility criteria in Ontario, and the only NIPT publicly funded for women who meet eligibility criteria in B.C. Many health insurance companies also cover NIPT. In addition, women who want testing, but are not covered, can purchase a Harmony test from Dynacare for $495.
 
To learn more about Harmony and how it provides clear answers to questions that matter, visit Dynacare.ca