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Illumina Test (replaced the Harmony)

The Harmony Prenatal test, now replaced by Illumina, was one of the first Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests to become available in the UK. Like all other NIPTs, it allows a baby's DNA to be tested from a sample of the mother's blood, in a way which is safe, easy and fast.

What Illumina tests for:

Extra chromosomes 21, 18, 13 ( trisomies linked to Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome respectively)
Gender (inspecting the X and Y chromosomes) if requested
Sex chromosomes aneuploidies :45,X (Turner syndrome); 47,XXY (Klinefelter syndrome); 47,XXX (Triple X syndrome); 47,XYY (XYY syndrome)

The Illumina Prenatal Test is extremely accurate (99+% accuracy of diagnosis) and offers an effective replacement to amniocentesis for most women undergoing prenatal screening for chromosomal abnormalities. The test can be done early in pregnancy (from 10 weeks) and carries no risk to the mother or baby.

The Illumina Prenatal Test is available in London at The Medical Chambers Kensington. The Harmony Prenatal Test was first available in America in October 2011. You may hear this test referred to by your antenatal care team as a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) or non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD). 

Comprehensive antenatal screening  The Illumina prenatal blood test does not replace the 12-week Nuchal scan. The scan provides crucial information about your baby's anatomical development that cannot be ascertained from a prenatal blood test, so it is important to combine ultrasound scanning with blood tests. You can have your blood sample for the DNA blood test taken at the same time as the Nuchal scan, or you can come in for it separately.

Who is the Illumina test for?  The Illumina Prenatal Test is usually chosen when the risk of chromosome abnormality is considered high, either because of maternal age or history, or indications shown on the Nuchal (12-week) scan. Some women request it when no increase of risk is indicated as a form of reassurance.

A side benefit of the Illumina Prenatal Test is that it can determine your baby's gender. Ultrasound at The Medical Chambers Kensington is also highly accurate for determining gender after 12 weeks.

What to expect when you have an Illumina Test.  You'll meet our nurse who will take a sample of your blood from a vein in your arm.

We'll call you with the results as soon as we have them and we will send you a copy of your report. Our specialist prenatal doctor will also review the results before sending a report to your doctor.

How does the Illumina Prenatal Test work?  A mother's blood contains tiny amounts of DNA from her fetus, which circulates as 'cell-free' DNA (cfDNA) resulting from the natural breakdown of fetal cells (presumed to be mostly placental). In early pregnancy this cfDNA can be collected from a sample of the mother's blood and analysed to reveal the chromosomal make up of fetal DNA. So, without any invasion of the pregnancy, it offers an accurate screening test for the risk of a baby having a chromosome condition called a trisomy. A trisomy occurs when there are three copies of a particular chromosome instead of the usual two. The most common is Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). The other two that are checked for with the Illumina test are Trisomy 13 and 18. For more on these conditions, please follow this link to congential abnormalities and birth defects.