Health Council: inform pregnant woman completely about the results of the NIPT test

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The Health Council wants women who take the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) to be informed as standard about serious incidental findings. This is stated in the advice that the Council has issued to the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Since 2017, pregnant women have been offered an NIPT as part of a scientific study, which they can use to investigate whether there are indications that their unborn child has Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome.

End of research phase

The research phase of the blood test ends on April 1. Until now, pregnant women could choose whether they only wanted to be informed about Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome or also about other abnormalities that came to light. Examples include other chromosome abnormalities in the child, in the placenta or in the pregnant woman herself. According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, the latter is very rare.

The Health Council now wants to simplify the process. The choice will be removed and pregnant women who take the test will be informed about other serious genetic abnormalities as standard. According to the Council, this means that it will become less complicated to opt for the NIPT. It also removes the differences in the execution of the testing.

The committee that issues the advice at the request of the minister assumes that “pregnant women who choose to participate in the NIPT do so because they want to know whether the fetus may have a serious chromosome abnormality, regardless of which chromosome this concerns.”

The Health Council makes an exception for a specific category of incidental findings, which often only concern the placenta, and not the unborn child itself.

The Center for Population Screening (CvB) of the RIVM wants to introduce the NIPT in the regular screening program from 1 April.

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