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neoBona (NIPT): A New, More Accurate Blood Test For Fetal Abnormalities

neoBona (NIPT): A New, More Accurate Blood Test For Fetal Abnormalities

All expectant mums want to have peace of mind that they are carrying a healthy baby. With so many things to worry about during pregnancy, the option of testing for abnormalities can alleviate fears about the well-being of their unborn child.

Currently all pregnant women are offered conventional NHS screening at different stages of pregnancy, beginning with the 12 week dating scan. Those who are considered ‘high risk’, including those who have a higher likelihood of delivery a baby with abnormalities, will almost certainly be offered additional diagnostic tests. Some of these tests are invasive and carry a risk of miscarriage.

neoBona is a new blood test for accurate non-invasive pre-natal screening (NIPT). It’s a test fundamentally different to its predecessors and other tests currently available.

Conventional testing, consisting of analyses and ultrasound only provides the patient with a stastical index (i.e. the probability of having child who suffers from abnormalities). The neoBona NIPT, however can identify whether or not there are chromosomal abnormalities as early as 10 weeks into the pregnancy. NeoBona can offer this precise level of accuracy because the results are deriven from fetal DNA itself. This NIPT test, therefore, is a far better indicator than the traditional risk score; giving expectant parents a much greater level of certainty.

Unlike similar tests, neoBona is the only NIPT test that examines both ends of the DNA sequence. Commonly, other tests examine only one. By using double ended sequencing techniques, the mother receives a more accurate result based on the actual fetal fraction from a simple maternal blood sample.

Note: For a list of clinics in the UK who provide various types of Non Invasive Prenatal Testing, please view our NIPT listings.

How is this possible?
During pregnancy, the DNA from the baby (options are available for twin pregnancies) is released through the placenta into the mother’s bloodstream. This fetal DNA (the fetal fraction) can be extracted from a blood sample taken from the mother and examined with pinpoint accuracy. Less than 1% fetal fraction is needed, which not only improves the reliability of the result, but makes the neoBona test more precise than other NIPT available.

Who has developed this test?
The neoBona test was pioneered by LABCO (part of Synlab) the European leader in diagnostic testing along with Illumina, the word leader in DNA sequencing. The team has more than 15 years’ experience innovating prenatal testing and has performed over 500,000 prenatal diagnostic tests to date.

Hannah Blackburn, Business Development Director for SYNLAB UK explains:

“Historically, patients are used to getting a risk factor due to conventional screening results from the NHS, they then decide, if high risk, whether to undergo further tests dependent on the risk factor and clinical advice. Around 1% of fetuses have some type of chromosomal abnormality. However, up until now conventional screening has identified potential abnormalities in 5% of those screened. This means out of every 100 healthy fetuses, five are classified as positive and may be subjected to unnecessary invasive procedures which put them at risk of miscarriage. neoBona makes it possible to reduce this 5% to practically zero (less than 0.1%), preventing the need for unnecessary invasive tests during your pregnancy.

“The neoBona test is suitable for all pregnant women including those with a high body mass index, mothers who have undergone IVF, high risk pregnancy and there are test options for twin pregnancies. neoBona is especially effective if the fetus or fetuses have a small placenta because neoBona only needs a low level of fetal fraction to get an accurate result. (Less than 1%). If a mother has been told at 12 weeks she is ‘high risk’ after standard NHS triple test, a simple maternal blood test is all that is required. Results come back within a week with 99.9% detection rate to indicate whether further invasive tests are necessary.”

How accurate is neoBona?
neoBona is over 99% accurate and detects close to all cases of chromosomal abnormalities. The percentage of false positives is touching zero. This means a significant number of unnecessary invasive procedures will be avoided using neoBona. All validation studies for the neoBona test have been carried out on both high risk and low risk pregnancies to ensure test results are highly accurate.

What is involved for the patient?
A blood sample is taken from the mother from the 10th week of pregnancy onwards. The sample is sent away for testing to detect chromosomal abnormalities by studying the fetal DNA present in the mother’s blood from the placenta.

What is conventional testing?
Conventional first trimester screening consists of an ultrasound and analysis that produces a statistical risk index. Certain factors, such as age, also indicate potential risk, triggering the recommendation of further testing.
Further testing can include invasive tests such as amniocentesis. For this a needle is used to extract a sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the fetus in the womb), but there is an associated risk of miscarriage which is around 1 in 100. In addition, there is a 1 in 10 chance that Down’s Syndrome will not be detected and a 5% risk of a false positive result. This level of uncertainty can be overwhelming.

What does the neoBona test identify?

  1. Trisomies – a trisomy is caused by the presence of three copies of a chromosome instead of the regular two.
    • Edward’s Syndrome
    • Patau Syndrome
    • Down’s Syndrome
  2. Alterations in the sex chromosome resulting in:
    • Turner syndrome and Trisomy of the X chromosome in girls
    • Klinefelter syndrome and Jacobs syndrome in boys

How do you book a test?
To book a test:
Tel: 0330 024 8985

For more information please visit

We would like to thank the team at neoBona, for providing their specialist knowledge for this article.

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