Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

Analysing small fragments of DNA that are circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood
to determine the risk that the foetus will be born with certain genetic abnormalities.

Nucleic acid detection in blood, including detection and analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma, is an emerging and promising field in disease diagnosis, treatment and management.

During pregnancy, the mother’s blood contains a mix of Cell Free DNA (cfDNA) that comes from her cells and cells from the placenta, that are shed into her bloodstream throughout pregnancy. The DNA in placental cells is usually identical to the DNA of the foetus. Analysing cfDNA from the placenta provides an opportunity for early detection of certain genetic abnormalities without harming the foetus.


NIPT sometimes called non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) methods are based on the analysis of placenta-derived foetal specific DNA (cell-free foetal DNA) in maternal plasma during pregnancy.

NIPT can be used for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities, such as trisomy 21, 18, 13 and some single gene disorders. It can be offered to determine foetal sex in pregnancies at risk of serious X-linked conditions, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and those at risk of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).

NIPT can also be applied in foetal Rhesus D typing in Rhesus D negative mothers and foetal blood genotyping for Kell, human platelet antibodies (HPA) and other genes predicting blood antibody status.

NICE Diagnostics Guidance [DG25] - Find out more:
High-throughput non-invasive prenatal testing for fetal RHD genotype

cfDNA Deterioration

cfDNA has a half-life of two hours and starts to deteriorate immediately after blood collection. This necessitates immediate processing of the blood for analysis.

In reality, most of the blood processing and analysis happens at a remote lab. The transport and storage can lead to a gap of 1-7 days between collection and processing. Maintaining cfDNA integrity and preventing release of genomic DNA from the nucleated cells is critical to acquiring high quality data.

Cell-Free DNA BCT® CE Blood Collection Tubes for NIPT Sample Collection

Streck Cell-free BCT® blood collection tubes are direct-draw vacuum blood collection tubes that contain a preservative reagent that stabilises nucleated blood cells. They are 95kPa certified to IATA standard making them suitable for both road and air transport.

Cell-Free DNA BCT® tubes are the original and most proven tubes for NIPT.

The unique stabilisation prevents the release of genomic DNA (gDNA), allowing isolation of high quality cfDNA which can be further used for a wide range of downstream applications in clinical research studies, drug discovery and diagnostic assay development (e.g. non-invasive prenatal testing, NIPT; liquid biopsies; post transplantation non-invasive graft monitoring).


Cell-Free DNA BCT®

  • Reduces the need for immediate plasma preparation

  • CfDNA and gDNA are stable for up to 14 days at 6°C to 37°C

  • Convenient sample collection, transport and storage

  • Enhanced stability and recovery of cell-free plasma DNA minimises variability associated with cell-free DNA sample preparation.