Lucina test

The Lucina test (Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)) is a new option in prenatal screening for Down's syndrome and other common chromosomal conditions. This test is offered free of charge to women booked at our Women’s Hospital who are found to have an increased chance (>1 in 150) of trisomy (Edward's, Patau or Down's syndrome) following biochemical screening (blood test).

The test is carried out at the West Midlands Regional Genetics NHS Laboratory (based on our hospital site) and uses Illumina Verifi technology. A sample of maternal blood will be taken and results will be reported back to you within two weeks.

The test identifies more than 99% of babies with Trisomy 21 (Down's syndrome), 97% with Trisomy 18 (Edward's syndrome) and 87% with Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome).

Further information is available in our frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. If you'd like to get in touch with our team, please contact the Antenatal Screening Midwives on 0121 335 8259.

Please be advised that women without a high risk result from biochemical screening can still access this test, however a fee of £395.00 will be charged.

Frequently asked questions

How accurate is it?

This test has shown to be more than 99% accurate in identifying pregnancies affected with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) (less than 1 out of 200 pregnancies with Down syndrome will not be identified by this test), 97% of pregnancies with Edwards syndrome (3 out of 100 pregnancies with Edwards syndrome will not be detected) and 87% of cases of Patau syndrome (13 out of 100 cases will not be detected on this test).

What does the test look for? Is it everything?

The test only looks at chromosomes 13, 18 and 21. These are the most common chromosome differences that can occur in pregnancies. Only extra copies of these chromosomes will be detected. Any other genetic conditions or differences will not be identified.

How will I get the results?

We will telephone you directly to discuss the result with you.

Will this change my routine care?

No, you will carry on having your routine NHS care just like any other pregnant woman.

What happens if I get an increased chance result?

This does not mean that your pregnancy is definitely affected with a trisomy; there is a small chance that the result is incorrect. You will be offered an invasive test such as a CVS or amniocentesis which will be able to check the chromosomes of the fetus. These invasive tests will give a definite result.

I have been asked for a repeat sample; does this mean my pregnancy is affected?

No, it just means that the sample did not have enough fetal DNA to be able to carry out the testing. This happens very rarely, you will not be charged for this extra sample.

What happens if my second sample doesn’t work?

Unfortunately in some women a result is never obtained. This occurs in a small number of cases. If a second sample does not produce a result, then it is unlikely that a result will be available with another blood sample. In these cases, you will not receive a refund.

I have a low result; this means that my pregnancy is not affected?

It is very unlikely that your pregnancy is affected with a trisomy if you have been given a low risk result. However, as mentioned above, there is a small chance that the test will not pick up all trisomy pregnancies.

Who can have the test?

Any woman with a singleton pregnancy can have the test. Women who are pregnant from donor eggs can also be offered this test.

Can I have the test at another hospital?

This test is currently offered as a private additional test at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. There are other hospitals offering this test in the West Midlands.

At what stage in the pregnancy can I have the test? It is more accurate if done earlier in pregnancy?

The test is available from 10 completed weeks into a pregnancy. It can be carried out at any stage on the pregnancy after 10 weeks. Prior to that time, there may not be enough fetal DNA circulating in Mum’s bloodstream to carry out the test.