The Harmony prenatal test

Pregnancy is a wonderful time of waiting for the youngest family member to be born. For many expectant parents, however, this time of joy is overshadowed by worries and concerns about the course of pregnancy and normal development of the baby. It is worthwhile to consider taking prenatal tests which allow complex and effective monitoring of the baby’s health condition. They also enable early detection of congenital, hereditary and genetic defects. If a fetal defect is identified, the parents are able to prepare emotionally for specific treatment after or even before the baby is born.

Prenatal tests can estimate, among others, the risk of the fetus having Down syndrome – a genetic defect which affects both physical and mental development of the child. Some genetic diseases are inherited, and others, like Down syndrome, are not. So, in fact, Down syndrome is a genetic disease which may occur in any pregnancy. Although a woman’s chances of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome increase with age, experts emphasize that most children with this particular defect are born to women under 35 years of age. The members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend offering the option of prenatal tests for Down syndrome to all pregnant women.

Non-invasive prenatal testing – what does the Harmony test involve?

The Harmony test offered by ALAB laboratories is a prenatal examination based on the discovery that a pregnant woman’s blood contains fragments of her baby’s DNA. A single sample of maternal blood is enough to estimate the chance of having a child with 3 fetal genetic defects – Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Pataua syndrome (trisomy 13).

Traditional maternal serum screening tests may not be able to detect as many as 20% of fetuses with Down syndrome in expectant mothers. The Harmony test yields the highest possible accuracy rates. It is a new type of a DNA-based examination which has been broadly studied in pregnant women aged 18 – 50. Clinical trials prove that the test detects Down syndrome with 99% accuracy and the percentage of false-positive results is below 0,1%.

Definite answers at an early stage

The test is simple and non-invasive. It requires taking a single sample of maternal blood. It can be done as early as after week 10 of pregnancy. The results are available within 10 working days. It is a significant advantage over other prenatal tests for Down syndrome which are carried out at later stages of pregnancy and require frequent visits.

No need to undergo subsequent tests

Owing to its high accuracy and low false-positive rate in comparison with other tests, there is very little likelihood of subsequent invasive tests (like amniocentesis) to be recommended.

Fetal sex chromosome testing

Non-invasive Harmony prenatal tests can also detect sex chromosome (XY) abnormalities and identify the defects like Turner or Klinefelter syndromes which are caused by the presence or absence of an extra copy of the chromosome X or Y. Consult your doctor if you want to learn more about sex chromosome testing.

Three easy steps to get definite answers in the diagnostics of genetic defects:

1. Do a blood test after 10 weeks of pregnancy. Bring the results of your recent ultrasound scan with you. 2. Your blood sample will be submitted to the laboratory for analysis. 3. The results will be available to you within 10 working days.

Test results

Non-invasive Harmony tests provide definite answers about the risk of specific genetic defects in the fetus. A prenatal test based on free-cell DNA analysis is not considered a diagnostic test. After receiving the test results, you should discuss the plan of your further pregnancy care with the attending doctor.