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Genetic Services

First Trimester Screening

Performed at the end of the first trimester

The First Trimester Screening (FTS) is recommended for pregnant women of any age who would like early information about the health of a pregnancy without invasive testing. Serious chromosomal abnormalities are more commonly associated with pregnancies in women age 35 and older, but they can occur at any age. In fact, more babies with Down syndrome are born to women under age 35.

Click here to watch a video about the First Trimester Screening or click here to download the First Trimester Screening brochure.

First Trimester Screening is a non-invasive tool that combines a blood test, a specialized ultrasound, and your age. This information provides a powerful, personalized risk assessment for your current pregnancy. One of the genetic counselors of GIVF will meet with you the day of your ultrasound and call you to explain the FTS results to you and answer your questions (generally less than a week after your appointment).

First Trimester Screening detects up to:

  • 98% of pregnancies with Down syndrome, and
  • 95% of pregnancies with Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13.

First Trimester Screening offers every pregnant woman:

  • A personalized risk assessment instead of a generic risk based only on your age.
  • The most accurate non-invasive screening available in pregnancy.
  • Earlier information than second trimester options.
  • An individualized risk for each twin or triplet in a multiple gestation pregnancy.

If you are 35 or older, First Trimester Screening also offers:

  • A non-invasive first step to determine if diagnostic testing is appropriate for you.
  • Additional information to help you choose between follow-up options.

This screening process is significantly more accurate and available earlier in pregnancy than the second trimester blood test (quadruple screen) for Down syndrome and other conditions. However, no screen can assess the risk for every chromosome abnormality, genetic disease, or birth defect.

At your FTS appointment, you will have an ultrasound and a blood draw. The blood sample is used to measure the concentration of five proteins, PAPP-A (pregnancy associated plasma protein A), free ß-hCG (free-beta human chorionic gonadotropin), AFP (alpha-feto-protein, DIA (Dimeric Inhibin A), and PGIF (Placental Growth Factor). These proteins are released into the maternal blood in every pregnancy. The ultrasound looks for the presence of the fetal nasal bone and measures the nuchal translucency. The nuchal translucency is a fluid filled area at the back of the fetal neck, present in every pregnancy.

Information from the blood test and ultrasound are combined with your age to generate your result. The personalized results will describe the risks for Down syndrome and for Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13 in your pregnancy.

The FTS ultrasound is performed during a specific window of time based on fetal size. For most women, this begins during the 11th week and continues through the 13th week of pregnancy. The blood work can be done at the same time, or in the two weeks prior to the ultrasound. For convenience, most women will have their ultrasound and blood work completed at the same appointment.

GIVF has on-site genetic counselors who will meet with you the day of your ultrasound and call you with your FTS results, generally less than a week after your appointment. Genetic counselors have extensive training in prenatal screening and a thorough understanding of the test implications; they will explain the results to you and answer your questions.

Click here to download the First Trimester Screening brochure or click here to read FAQs about First Trimester Screening.

Contact GIVF early in your pregnancy to schedule an appointment by calling 800.552.4363 or 703.698.7355 or clicking here. You will be asked to provide the due date given to you by your obstetrician when scheduling your appointment.