Why All Parents Should Know About NIPT

With Serial Entrepreneur Iyia Liu

Iyia Liu is all about female empowerment. Starting her first successful e-commerce business, Waist Trainer, at 21 Iyia then went on to master the entrepreneurial world with Lux Fitness, Bambi Boutique and Celebration Box before adding another notch to her belt by founding the Girls in Business Organisation. This latest venture hit 50,000 members in less than 1 year, inspiring women to achieve their goals. Iyia’s strong drive accelerated her into early fame and fortune and she has most recently landed her own reality T.V show called Boss Babes. Iyia has some special advice for our readers on starting a new venture; “Just give things a go and put some things into action because you never know what’s going to happen.” Iyia insists. “People can freak themselves out, Just do it!”

When Iyia became pregnant she chose non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) through Illumiscreen. “I heard about it through my friend, she used Illumiscreen. My midwife also recommended it.” NIPT is a simple blood test that accurately detects chromosomal abnormalities to 99.9% without the risk of miscarriage that alternatives tests carry and can provide a very early gender reveal; as soon as 10 weeks. “Most importantly I wanted to make sure the baby was healthy and I also wanted the gender reveal!”

Iyia has a busy schedule, “I wake up, get ready, go to the office and do what I need to do. There is work with media and press and sometimes events too” explains Iyia. The last thing a new mother needs is to be worrying about the health of her unborn child. “I wanted to have peace of mind” Iyia affirms “I took the test on a Monday and got the results back on Friday that same week. It was so quick.”

We all know having a baby is life-changing. The more prepared mothers are and the more information they have the better. “I feel like I don’t know much. There is no one perfect guide everyone gets referred to so I’ve just been Googling everything!” A relatable experience for many which is what makes NIPT so important for that peace of mind for expectant parents. “I’ve seen people go off the ordinary scan and then it not be totally accurate. I just want to be certain and this was so easy!” 

Iyia can now go back to conquering the business world, maybe plan a very deserving trip to the Greek islands or Bali, her two favourite destinations, and peacefully enjoy the exciting new world of glamourous pregnancy and empowering motherhood.

Why All Parents Should Know About NIPT

With Rachel Hawkings, Mother of Four.

Anxiety around the health of a baby during pregnancy is common and the risk real. Chromosomal abnormalities which cause disabilities such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13) become more likely as mothers to be grow older, especially after 30 years of age. These abnormalities are now detectable with 99% accuracy at no risk to the baby by as soon as 10 weeks, with the bonus detection of an early gender reveal. This Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT) is available through a simple Illumiscreen blood test at over 140 collection centres across New Zealand. Most importantly, as Rachel Hawkings of Hamilton, mother of four, confides to us in this interview, it brings “reassurance” and “peace of mind”

Rachel always wanted to be a mum and found that dream came true in her early 20s with her first child, Autumn [6], closely followed by Hazel [4] and Bodhi [3]. Fast forward to last year and her baby girl, June, was on her way. “Finding the right information and getting support around you is so important, says Rachel. During her pregnancy with June, Rachel was armed with the support and knowledge from a local Māori parents group ‘Hapū Wānanga’ a 2 day antenatal course whose motto is “My birth, my baby, my body” allowing Rachel to feel confident and in control of her pregnancy.

“Being only 27 years old, I didn’t feel my age would cause pregnancy risks to be high. However the idea of any risk for June, even small, was still causing anxiety” Rachel told us. Suffering from this all too familiar anxiety that many mothers go through around their pregnancy led Rachel to Illumiscreen NIPT and she testifies that “the reassurance and peace of mind was just so important”. Rachel found out about the NIPT screening through an Australian blogger online and confirmed it with her midwife that it was available throughout New Zealand. Rachel told us “I was shocked at the lack of people who knew about this incredible technology.” Rachel took the non-invasive blood test at 12 weeks and had the results in 6 days.

Getting the peace of mind for June’s health through the Illumiscreen NIPT turned out to be a very important decision. Early on Rachel experienced a Mother’s nightmare when it was discovered on the antenatal ultrasound that June had four cysts in the choroid plexus, a structure in the fluid-filled space of the brain (that makes cerebrospinal fluid), which is also a soft marker for trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), one of the chromosomal abnormalities tested within NIPT. Illumiscreen was able to give Rachel the reassurance that June was not affected by this condition. Thankfully for Rachel and now 3 month old baby June, these cysts did resolve themselves and June was born healthy into the family of 3 other beautiful children.

“The NIPT test really put my mind at ease” says Rachel and when asked what she would say to expecting parents who aren’t sure she told us this: “If you’re someone that wants peace of mind I couldn’t recommend this more. It needs to get out there and all parents should know about it. It needs to be said that it’s so tried and true.”

Initially Rachel worried when making this decision. She told us “At the time I was thinking I hope this is real and legitimate. $600 is a lot of money.” and went on to explain that “The value of the test was worth the cost. That peace of mind is just so important!”

There are enough surprises in parenthood. How hard it really is, how many nappies you need to change, how much sleep you won’t get, and how your social life will be affected. The health of your baby doesn’t have to be one of them.