The non-invasive prenatal test (NPT) involves the collection of maternal blood from which fetal DNA is analyzed (also called free fetal DNA from maternal blood) to detect the risk of the fetus developing certain genetic abnormalities, including Down syndrome. It can also provide information about the child’s gender and Rh blood type.
The MaterniT® 21 PLUS laboratory developed such a test and in this article, we are going to talk about how much you should budget for it and what will it involve.
How Much Does the Sequenom MaterniT21® Test Cost?
The cost of a Sequenom MaterniT21® test will be affected by several factors such as the health insurance provider you have, the lab you choose, and the doctor you have. In case you have health insurance, you should be prepared to spend anywhere between $140 and $260.
According to KHN, the price of a Sequenom MaterniT21® test is around $1,900, but if you have health insurance, you will have to pay only $250 out of your pocket.
Before even considering the test try to get a CPT test code from your doctor’s office, then call your insurance company and find out how much you have to spend exactly. Even though a lot of insurance companies will not be able to give you an exact price if you are lucky enough you may receive an exact price directly from Sequenom. In most situations, you will find out that it will be cheaper to pay for the test out of your pocket instead of using your insurance policy.
According to a member of the What to Expect online forum, the price of a test would be around $150 in case you don’t have health insurance. However, most of the members said that they had to pay around $250 for a Sequenom MaterniT21® test.
Also, according to a Reddit forum member, the cost of s Sequenom MaterniT21® test is around $150 without insurance. And, in case you deny your insurance you will have to pay a flat rate of almost $220.
How is the non-invasive prenatal test performed?
Since the test involves a simple blood collection, the process is very safe for the mother and fetus. The sample is sent to the laboratory where a specialized doctor will check the free fetal DNA from the maternal blood to detect signs of possible fetal anomalies.
After obtaining the results, the doctor will combine the blood tests with the morphological ultrasound results of the first trimester to determine if additional tests are needed (if the risk is high, the doctor may recommend amniocentesis or chorionic villus biopsy to confirm the diagnosis or to look for other malformations that cannot be detected by TPN).
Who should get the Sequenom MaterniT21® test?
In the past, the test was recommended only for women who had a pregnancy at high risk for chromosomal abnormalities (women over 35 or with a history of genetic diseases). Currently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that physicians discuss all screening options with all pregnant women, regardless of age or risk, to determine which option is appropriate. The decision is a personal one and counseling is important.
When is maternal blood collected?
The test can be taken any time after week 9 of pregnancy, before any other screening or diagnostic test (nuchal translucency measurement is done between weeks 11-12, CVS chorionic villus biopsy between weeks 10-12, triple test between weeks 15- 22 and amniocentesis between weeks 15-20).
Important things to consider
The risk of fetal abnormalities such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome), monosomy X (Turner syndrome), Klinefelter syndrome, etc., can be determined with the help of this test. The test can detect over 99% of fetuses with Down syndrome, over 98% of fetuses with Edwards syndrome, and about 65% of fetuses with Patau syndrome.
In 40 cases, the women who took the MaterniT21 test, designed by the company Sequenom Inc, which analyzes their genetic code and that of their fetuses, presented a series of anomalies that usually signal the presence of cancer in the body of future mothers. For at least 26 of those women, the test in question proved – through further analysis – to be correct.
Eunice Lee, an anesthesiologist in San Francisco, was one of those women. She says she expected the results of her tests, carried out while she was pregnant, to be normal. Instead, the Sequenom-designed test provided results that prompted her to get tested for cancer. After a full MRI, doctors discovered a huge tumor in the colon area, which they removed when the patient was 15 weeks pregnant.
Sequenom company representatives say that the MaterniT21 test did not give any false positive results in terms of anticancer analysis.
How can I save money?
Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings does offer a Patient Assistance Program and many payment options for those who meet certain conditions.
What else do I need to pay attention to?
Before performing the test, check if it is covered by medical insurance. It is also important to consider the possibility of a positive result and its impact from a psychological point of view. Finding out the potential medical conditions of the fetus in time helps you prepare for a child with special needs. In addition, you can choose a multidisciplinary hospital where your safety and that of the fetus are a priority.