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What is a Fallopian Tube?

Illustration detailing the expert fertility assessment of fallopian tubes offered at London Pregnancy Clinic.

Fallopian Tubes: all you need to know

Discovering the importance of fallopian tubes for fertility.

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Explore the critical role of fallopian tubes, or uterine tubes, in pregnancy and fertility. This post delves into their anatomy, function, and common issues affecting fertility, providing essential insights for expectant mothers and those planning pregnancy.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the fallopian tubes, an essential component of the female reproductive system. We also explore common pathologies that affect these tubes, leading to infertility issues and complications like ectopic pregnancies. Our esteemed in-house gynae team, brings their extensive knowledge and expertise to this discussion, providing invaluable insights into the significance of maintaining fallopian tube health. Join us as we unfold the mysteries of the fallopian tubes and their vital function in the miracle of life.

What are Fallopian Tubes

In the female body, the pelvis houses two vital structures known as fallopian tubes. One on either side of the uterus. These tubes act as pathways, connecting the ovaries to the uterus. Each fallopian tube is made up of four distinct parts: the infundibulum, fimbriae, ampulla, and isthmus. The fimbriae are delicate, finger-like extensions that gently guide the egg from the ovary into the tube. 

The Role of Fallopian tubes in Pregnancy

Moreover, fallopian tubes are critical in the earliest stages of pregnancy, integral to the reproductive process, and serve a trio of critical functions. They are the conduits for egg transportation from the ovaries to the uterus and the venue where fertilisation typically occurs. Post-fertilisation, these tubes facilitate the journey of the fertilised egg to the uterus, setting the stage for implantation and the progression of pregnancy. The health and integrity of the fallopian tubes are paramount for successful conception as they are closely linked to fertility. Problems with these tubes are a common reason why some women may have difficulty getting pregnant.

Uterine Tube Pathologies & Infertility

According to a report, nearly one-third of infertility cases are attributed to issues with the fallopian tubes, including various pathologies like inflammation and obstructions. Damage to the tube’s cilia can hinder the movement of sperm or egg, contributing to infertility. Additionally, sexually transmitted infections are a known cause of these tubal issues. Let’s dive into the specific pathologies that can manifest.


Salpingitis, an inflammation in the fallopian tubes, often forms part of wider pelvic inflammatory diseases (PIDs). Its hallmark is a thickened tube in the isthmus area, known as salpingitis isthmica nodosa. This condition can resemble endometriosis, potentially leading to fertility blockages or raising ectopic pregnancy risks.

During diagnosis, doctors first look for tenderness and swelling. They may conduct blood and urine tests to spot infection indicators. Swab tests from the vagina and cervix help identify specific bacterial infections. Ultrasound scans of the fallopian tubes and reproductive tract are common. A crucial test, the hysterosalpingogram, uses a special X-ray and dye through the cervix to detect tubal blockages.

Untreated, salpingitis can cause long-term fertility issues and increase ectopic pregnancy chances. Symptoms vary, including lower abdominal pain, nausea, and fever; sometimes, no symptoms appear initially. Antibiotics typically treat this condition, but severe cases might require surgery or IVF. Seeking medical advice early is vital to prevent serious outcomes. Early detection and treatment significantly aid in managing salpingitis effectively.

Fallopian Tube Blockage & Narrowing

Addressing fallopian tube obstructions can significantly boost pregnancy chances. These blockages may develop in various parts of the tube – proximal, distal, or mid-segmental. Testing the tubes’ full functionality presents challenges, yet assessing their patency (openness) is possible with hysterosalpingography, laparoscopy with dye, or hysterosalpingo contrast sonography (HyCoSy). During surgical evaluations, specialists examine the tubes and introduce a dye, such as methylene blue, into the uterus to test its passage through the tubes when the cervix is closed.

Research published in PubMed indicates a notable prevalence of tubal obstruction: 19.1% in primary infertility cases and 28.7% in secondary infertility scenarios. The study highlights cornual blockage’s predominance in primary infertility, whereas complete hydrosalpinx and peritubal adhesions appear less frequently. Due to the frequent link between tubal disease and Chlamydia infection, Chlamydia antibody screening is now a cost-effective approach for identifying possible tubal pathologies.

At London Pregnancy Clinic, we conduct the HyCoSy procedure. This test evaluates fallopian tube functionality by injecting a special dye and monitoring its flow. It also assesses the womb for abnormalities affecting pregnancy implantation. Additionally, we use dye and ultrasound scans to check for fallopian tube blockages or abnormalities. Discover more through the slider below, offering further insights into our advanced diagnostic techniques.

  • Graphic explaining the expert fertility assessment of fallopian tubes offered at London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Fallopian Tubes

  • Educational diagram of female reproductive anatomy focusing on the fallopian tubes provided by London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Fallopian tube diagram

  • Illustration detailing the phases of the menstrual cycle as part of fertility education by London Pregnancy Clinic.

    Menstrual Cycle

  • Infographic showing statistics on blocked fallopian tube prevalence in women, as part of London Pregnancy Clinic's fertility resources.

    Stats on blocked fallopian tube

  • Explanation of the HYCOSY scan procedure for checking fallopian tube blockage, offered by London Pregnancy Clinic.


  • Image of Mr. Prashant Purohit with text highlighting London Pregnancy Clinic's expertise in fertility and gynaecology ultrasound.

    Mr. Prashant Purohit specialist gynaecologist

Ectopic Pregnancy

Statistics and Locations of Ectopic Pregnancies: Ectopic pregnancies, which occur in about 1%-2% of all pregnancies, predominantly implant in the fallopian tubes, with over 98% of cases occurring there. Within the fallopian tubes, the distribution of ectopic pregnancies varies: approximately 75% happen in the ampullary segment, 13% in the isthmic segment, and around 12% in the fimbrial segment. These statistics highlight the critical nature of monitoring tubal health.

Fertilisation and its Relation to Ectopic Pregnancies: It’s important to note that fertilisation typically occurs in the ampulla, the same section of the fallopian tube where the majority of ectopic pregnancies are found. This correlation emphasises the need for awareness and early detection in cases of suspected ectopic pregnancy, as the ampulla is a common site for both normal fertilisation and ectopic implantation.

Understanding the statistics and locations of ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tubes is crucial. It not only sheds light on the commonality and risks associated with these pregnancies but also underscores the importance of early ultrasound pregnancy scans for detection and intervention. The earlier you scan the quicker we can detect an ectopic pregnancy meaning that we can begin this from week 6 of pregnancy.

Pregnant with Just One Fallopian Tube?

Typically, women possess two fallopian tubes for transporting the mature egg from the ovary to the uterus, where it may encounter sperm. However, a single healthy tube can efficiently undertake this task. Remarkably, up to 85% of women aged 22-28 with only one tube successfully conceive within two years of trying, even following an ectopic pregnancy.

If you have a blocked tube due to scarring, trauma, or a previous ectopic pregnancy, your pregnancy prospects remain normal, considering other health factors. Loss of a fallopian tube might result from pelvic surgery due to infection, tumours, or a past ectopic pregnancy. In some instances, women are naturally born with just one tube. Still, pregnancy is achievable with one tube, provided you have a functioning ovary, you’re ovulating and the fallopian tube is in good health.

If you’re struggling to conceive or have a history of fallopian tube issues, it’s wise to consult your gynaecologist or a reproductive endocrinologist. They can offer a thorough evaluation to guide your next steps. Remember, one healthy fallopian tube can effectively support your journey to motherhood.


Mr. Prashant Purohit, our dedicated in-house gynaecologist at London Pregnancy Clinic, emphasises the need for awareness and timely medical consultation to address these concerns. His expertise in managing these conditions reflects our clinic’s commitment to providing comprehensive care and support to women facing fertility challenges. Understanding the complexities of the fallopian tubes is not just about medical knowledge; it’s about empowering women with the information they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. We encourage you, readers to stay vigilant about their gynaecological well-being and seek expert guidance when needed. Remember, early detection and treatment are key to overcoming obstacles on the path to motherhood.

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Innovations in Pregnancy Care

An illustration for a blog post about a London Pregnancy Clinic event, depicting a serene winter scene with a doctor holding a snowflake wand beside a giant, glowing snow globe. Inside the globe, a peaceful foetus is curled up, akin to a budding flower on a tree branch, symbolising the clinic's nurturing approach to prenatal care.

Innovations in Pregnancy Care

An evening dedicated to LPC’s commitment towards “Innovative Pregnancy Care”



London Pregnancy Clinic’s recent “Innovative Pregnancy Care” event was a confluence of expertise and insight, shaping the future of prenatal care. Leading professionals gathered to discuss breakthroughs in early diagnostics and patient education, emphasising LPC’s forward-thinking approach.

A December evening at Spitalfields Market was transformed into a hub of medical expertise during the London Pregnancy Clinic’s event. The focus was on pioneering approaches in prenatal care, particularly the 10 Week Scan,  Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), and pre-eclampsia diagnosis.

Advancing the 10 Week Scan

The evening began with Ms. Shaz Khojasteh, LPC’s clinical lead, greeting each attendee with a warmth that matched her expertise. Her introduction was not just an opening speech but a heartfelt welcome to LPC’s family. She shared with the audience our signature 10 Week Scan, which isn’t just a routine check. It’s a comprehensive examination of the baby’s anatomy, providing vital developmental insights at a crucial early stage, thereby enriching the information gathered before conducting NIPT.

Demystifying NIPT – Dr Fred Ushakov’s Perspective

The spotlight then shifted to Dr. Fred Ushakov, whose speech was not only insightful but also visionary. He spoke passionately about his mission, in collaboration with the London School of Ultrasound and UCLH, to train the next generation of doctors and sonographers. His goal is to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to leverage early pregnancy scans to their full potential, enhancing patient care and pregnancy outcomes. This mission, he explained, is vital in ensuring that every pregnancy is approached with the utmost care and precision.

Dr Ushakov then addressed a common misunderstanding about NIPT. He emphasised that while NIPT is effective, it’s not all-encompassing. Patients may misinterpret it as a guarantee against all prenatal issues, not realising that conditions more severe than Down’s syndrome can occur and cannot be detected by NIPT. He further highlighted the importance of the dual approach (watch the explainer video here) that he instilled at LPC. Dr. Ushakov’s call for broader education and comprehensive scanning techniques underscored the need for a more informed approach to prenatal care.

Advocacy for Pre-eclampsia Awareness

Next, we were captivated by Dr. Daniel Stott, whose talk about pre-eclampsia was as enlightening as it was heartfelt. It was clear from his words and the energy in his voice just how dedicated he is to this topic. Dr. Stott walked us through the workings of a groundbreaking blood test for pre-eclampsia. With an approachable manner, he explained how this test isn’t just for identifying pre-eclampsia; it’s a crucial tool in carefully guiding expectant mothers through the rest of their pregnancy. 


As the expert talks wrapped up, the event naturally transitioned into festive networking. It was a perfect opportunity for attendees to connect, exchange experiences, and build professional ties in a holiday atmosphere. The evening emerged as a crucible of innovative ideas and shared goals for advancing prenatal care. Leaving the market, we carried with us the night’s insights and a renewed hope for the future of prenatal health. The event proved to be not just a confluence of minds but a beacon of hope for prenatal care’s future.

A special thank you to our sponsors Eurofins.

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Gynaecological Pelvic Scans: Importance, Procedure, and Diagnostics

In the realm of gynaecology, pelvic scans play a crucial role in maintaining women’s health. These essential imaging tests help visualise the organs within the female pelvic region, aiding the diagnosis of various conditions. This comprehensive blog post provides an in-depth understanding of gynaecological pelvic scans – their importance, procedure, potential risks, the conditions they can diagnose, their history, and the organs they help visualise.

Why Are Gynaecological Pelvic Scans Important?

Gynaecological pelvic scans provide detailed images of the female pelvic organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and bladder. This non-invasive procedure aids in the diagnosis and management of numerous conditions such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and even cancer.

This type of imaging allows medical professionals to identify abnormalities, track their progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. It’s also a vital tool for pregnancy management, helping to monitor foetal development, placental health, and diagnose ectopic pregnancies.

How are Gynaecological Pelvic Scans Performed?

Pelvic scans in gynaecology are typically performed through ultrasound technology. Ultrasounds work by emitting high-frequency sound waves that bounce off tissues and organs, creating echoes that are converted into real-time images.

There are two main types of gynaecological pelvic scans: transabdominal and transvaginal. The transabdominal scan is performed externally, with a probe moved over the lower abdomen. For a transvaginal scan, a specially designed probe is inserted into the vagina, providing closer, more detailed images of the pelvic organs.

Are There Any Risks? Are They Painful?

Gynaecological pelvic scans are generally safe, non-invasive procedures with minimal risk. Ultrasound technology does not involve radiation, making it safer than other imaging techniques.

In terms of discomfort, while some women might experience mild discomfort during a transvaginal scan, it’s typically not painful. The procedure is usually quick, and any discomfort tends to subside immediately after the scan.

Is There a Need for Preparation?

Preparation for a gynaecological pelvic scan may vary depending on the type of ultrasound. For a transabdominal scan, patients may be asked to drink water before the procedure to fill the bladder, which allows better visualisation of the pelvic organs. For a transvaginal scan, typically, no specific preparation is required.

Conditions Diagnosed by Gynaecological Pelvic Scans

Pelvic scans can diagnose a multitude of conditions, including:

  1. Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in the uterus, often appearing during childbearing years.
  2. Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled sacs in the ovary, usually harmless but occasionally requiring treatment.
  3. Endometriosis: A condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside it, causing pain and potentially affecting fertility.
  4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection of the female reproductive organs, often due to sexually transmitted bacteria.
  5. Gynaecological cancers: Pelvic scans help detect and manage cancers of the cervix, uterus, and ovaries.

The History of Scans in Gynaecology

The use of ultrasound technology in gynaecology has evolved significantly since its first clinical application in the 1950s. The initial ‘A-mode’ ultrasounds, which provided one-dimensional information, evolved into ‘B-mode’ in the late 1950s, delivering two-dimensional images. The introduction of Doppler ultrasound in the 1970s brought colour to the images, providing information about blood flow. Today, we even have 3D and 4D ultrasounds, allowing for detailed three-dimensional imaging and real-time movement.

Organs Visualised by Gynaecological Pelvic Scans

Gynaecological pelvic scans offer comprehensive imaging of the female pelvic organs. This includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and bladder. Another type of scan that specifically focuses on the potency of the fallopian tubes is know as HyCoSy.

Unravelling Microdeletions: Their Causes, Risk Factors, Common Types, and Screening Methods

Microdeletions are a topic of extensive genetic research. These small deletions in the DNA sequence of a chromosome can have significant implications on an individual’s health. In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into the causes, risk factors, ten most common types of microdeletions, their prevalence, and the role of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) in their detection.

What are Microdeletions?

Microdeletions are tiny losses of genetic material in the DNA sequence of a chromosome. These minute changes are typically undetectable under a standard microscope, hence the term ‘micro’. However, despite being minute, these deletions can lead to significant health and developmental problems, as they may disrupt several genes essential for growth and development.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of microdeletions remains unknown, and their occurrence seems largely spontaneous. They typically occur during the formation of reproductive cells or in early foetal development, resulting from a mistake in the cell’s DNA replication process.

In terms of risk factors, there’s no established link between microdeletions and parental age, ethnicity, or lifestyle. These changes can happen in any pregnancy, but familial history can increase the chances if a parent has a balanced translocation or an inherited microdeletion.

The Ten Most Common Microdeletion Syndromes

Here’s a list of ten of the most common microdeletion syndromes, along with their estimated prevalence:

SyndromeApproximate Prevalence
1. DiGeorge Syndrome (22q11.2 deletion syndrome)1 in 3,000 – 1 in 6,000
2. Williams Syndrome (7q11.23 deletion syndrome)1 in 7,500 – 1 in 20,000
3. Prader-Willi Syndrome1 in 10,000 – 1 in 25,000
4. Angelman Syndrome1 in 10,000 – 1 in 20,000
5. Cri-du-chat Syndrome (5p- syndrome)1 in 20,000 – 1 in 50,000
6. 1p36 Deletion Syndrome1 in 5,000 – 1 in 10,000
7. Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (4p- syndrome)1 in 20,000 – 1 in 50,000
8. Smith-Magenis Syndrome (17p11.2 deletion syndrome)1 in 15,000 – 1 in 25,000
9. Alagille Syndrome (20p12 deletion syndrome)1 in 30,000 – 1 in 50,000
10. Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome1 in 100,000 – 1 in 125,000

Microdeletions, in general, occur in approximately 1 in every 1,000 births, making them a significant contributor to genetic disorders. Just to compare Down’s Syndrome, the most common chromosomal disorder affects approximately 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. The frequency of Down’s Syndrome increases significantly with the mother’s age, particularly from 35 years onwards whereas microdeletions are believed to occur randomly.

Microdeletion Screening: The Role of NIPT

Screening for microdeletions has been revolutionised by advancements in genetic testing, particularly with the introduction of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT). This screening test, performed from the 10th week of pregnancy, analyses cell-free DNA in the maternal blood to identify common chromosomal abnormalities and microdeletions. NIPT poses no risk to the foetus and offers a safer alternative to invasive diagnostic procedures.

Though NIPT has high accuracy rates, it’s crucial to understand that a ‘positive’ result indicates an increased risk, not a definitive diagnosis. Positive NIPT results should always be confirmed through diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

There are a number of NIPT providers who offer screening for microdeletions, such as Panorama NIPT, Unity NIPT and PrenatalSAFE.


While the world of microdeletions might seem complex, understanding them is crucial to advancing our knowledge of genetic disorders. Early detection, made possible by advanced screening methods like NIPT, allows for better preparation and potential intervention. As research continues to evolve, we can hope for even more effective detection and management of these genetic changes, ultimately leading to improved healthcare and patient outcomes.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about genetic disorders or prenatal testing, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances.

DiGeorge Syndrome: Causes, Risk Factors, Screening and Prevalence

DiGeorge Syndrome, also commonly known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (or simply 22q del,) is a complex and multifaceted disorder that many people may not be aware of. This blog post aims to shed light on the causes and risk factors of DiGeorge Syndrome, discuss screening options such as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), and compare its prevalence with conditions such as Down’s Syndrome.

Understanding DiGeorge Syndrome (22Q DEL)

DiGeorge Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by the deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22, specifically on the q11.2 region. The deletion happens spontaneously during the formation of reproductive cells or in early fetal development. The primary cause of 22q del is unknown, and it typically isn’t inherited from the parents.

The syndrome is characterised by a wide range of potential symptoms, including heart defects, certain facial features, and learning difficulties.problems with immune system and other abnormalities. Unfortunately, 22q del syndrome is also associated with learning difficulties and psychiatric or behavioural problems like autism and schizophrenia. Due to its complex nature, different individuals affected may present a different set of symptoms, making it a highly variable condition.

Risk Factors

Although the exact cause of the chromosomal deletion leading to DiGeorge Syndrome is unknown, it’s not typically associated with the age of the parent, unlike some other genetic disorders. The occurrence appears to be mostly random, which means that all pregnancies, irrespective of familial history, have a minimal but real risk.

Screening for DiGeorge Syndrome: The Role of NIPT

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) has emerged as an invaluable tool for the early detection of several genetic disorders, including DiGeorge Syndrome. NIPT analyses cell-free DNA in the maternal blood to detect common chromosomal abnormalities. This test can be performed from the 10th week of pregnancy and poses no risk to the fetus.

While NIPT is highly accurate for detecting common trisomies like Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards’ syndrome (trisomy 18), and Patau’s syndrome (trisomy 13), it’s also valuable for identifying deletions like those causing DiGeorge Syndrome. It’s essential to remember, however, that a positive NIPT result for DiGeorge syndrome should be confirmed with diagnostic tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) for a definitive diagnosis.

Not all NIPT provider offer reliable screening for DiGeorge Syndrome. Recently, the Panorama AI NIPT demonstrated impressive clinical performance for screening Di George Syndrome, you can read more about the study here. In well-designed prospective study Panorama Test was able to detect more than 80% of the fetuses affected by 22q del, showing an outstanding 50% positive predicted value.

Prevalence of DiGeorge Syndrome vs Down’s Syndrome

DiGeorge Syndrome is considered one of the most common genetic syndromes, second only to Down’s Syndrome. In the general population, it’s estimated to affect between 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 4,000 live births. Younger women have the same chance to deliver baby with 22q del as older ones.

In contrast, Down’s Syndrome, the most common chromosomal disorder, has a higher prevalence rate, affecting approximately 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. The frequency of Down’s Syndrome increases significantly with the mother’s age, particularly from 35 years onwards.


Understanding and awareness of genetic disorders like DiGeorge Syndrome are crucial, not just for healthcare professionals, but for the general public too. While DiGeorge Syndrome is less common than Down’s Syndrome, it still represents a significant proportion of genetic disorders. By employing advanced screening methods such as NIPT, early detection and management of these conditions can be made possible.

Remember, if you have concerns or questions about genetic disorders or prenatal testing, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

Understanding The Statistics Behind NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing)


The best NIPT will be really good at detecting problems (high sensitivity) and correctly saying everything is fine (high specificity). It should hardly ever make mistakes by saying there’s a problem when there isn’t (low false positive) or missing a problem and saying everything is okay (low false negative). If the test says there’s an issue, it should be highly likely to be true (high positive predictive value). And if it says everything is fine, it should be trustworthy (high negative predictive value).

NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) is a type of genetic test used to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities and genetic syndromes in a developing fetus. The test involves analyzing a sample of the mother’s blood to look for fragments of DNA from the fetus.

It’s good to know the statistical terms related to NIPT performance because they help you understand how accurate the test is and what the results mean. You might be wondering why it’s important to understand those “boring statistics” related to NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) performance, but trust us, it’s actually really helpful! Knowing these statistical terms can make a big difference in your pregnancy journey.

By understanding these terms, you can make informed choices about your prenatal care. If the test is really accurate, you might feel more confident in the results and decide not to have further tests. But if the test has limitations, you might want to consider additional testing to get more clarity. It’s all about making sure you have the information you need to make the best choices for you and your baby.

So, while statistics might seem boring at first, they play a vital role in your understanding of the test’s accuracy, interpretation of results, and decision-making process. Embracing these statistics can give you more confidence and peace of mind throughout your pregnancy journey.

Please see below the most important statistical terms related to NIPT performance:

  1. Sensitivity: This measures how good the test is at correctly identifying fetuses that have a chromosomal abnormality. A high sensitivity means that the test is good at detecting most cases of abnormality. For example, if a test has a sensitivity of 99%, it means that out of 100 fetuses with a chromosomal abnormality, the test correctly identifies 99 of them.
  2. Specificity: This measures how good the test is at correctly identifying fetuses that do not have a chromosomal abnormality. A high specificity means that the test avoids identifying normal fetuses as abnormal. For example, if a test has a specificity of 99%, it means that out of 100 normal fetuses, the test correctly identifies 99 of them as normal.
  3. Positive predictive value (PPV): This is the probability that a positive test result is a true positive. In other words, if the test comes back positive, the PPV measures the likelihood that the fetus actually has a chromosomal abnormality. For example, if a test has a PPV of 95%, it means that out of 100 positive test results, 95 of them are true positives.
  4. Negative predictive value (NPV): This is the probability that a negative test result is a true negative. In other words, if the test comes back negative, the NPV measures the likelihood that the fetus does not have a chromosomal abnormality. For example, if a test has an NPV of 99%, it means that out of 100 negative test results, 99 of them are true negatives.
  5. False positive rate (FPR): This measures how often the test gives a positive result for a normal fetus. A low FPR means the test is good at avoiding false positives. For example, if a test has an FPR of 1%, it means that out of 100 normal fetuses, the test gives a false positive result for only 1 of them.
  6. False negative rate (FNR): This measures how often the test gives a negative result for an abnormal fetus. A low FNR means the test is good at avoiding false negatives. For example, if a test has an FNR of 1%, it means that out of 100 fetuses with a chromosomal abnormality, the test gives a false negative result for only 1 of them.

When we look at how well NIPT works, it’s important to consider a bunch of statistics together. A good test will have high sensitivity, high specificity, low false positive and false negative rates, and high PPV and NPV.

Just remember, the performance of NIPT can vary depending on the specific test and the group of people being tested. So, when you get the results, make sure to understand how good that particular test is.

Considering all these statistics helps us know how reliable the test is and what the results mean for you and your baby. It’s about making informed choices and getting the best care possible.

Learn more about the NIPT providers we use:

Harmony Test by Roche:

Panorama Test by Natera:

PrenatalSAFE by Eurofins:

Unity Test by BillionToOne:

Pregnancy Testing – Deep Dive into the Beta HCG Test

Pregnancy tests aim to provide a simple yet effective method of determining if you’re pregnant. There are two primary types of pregnancy tests available: urine tests and blood tests. While urine tests are more commonly used due to their convenience and over-the-counter availability, blood tests, specifically the Beta HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) test, offer a more detailed insight into the pregnancy. Here’s an in-depth look at the Beta HCG pregnancy test, how it differs from urine tests, its accuracy, uses, and how to interpret the results.

What is a Beta HCG Pregnancy Test?

A Beta HCG test is a blood test used to detect pregnancy. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta after implantation. The beta subunit of HCG can be detected in the blood serum of expectant mothers approximately 11 days after conception; HCG can be detected in the urine 12-14 days after conception.

There are two types of HCG tests:

  1. Qualitative HCG test: This test simply detects the presence of HCG in the blood. It gives a “yes” or “no” answer to the question, “Are you pregnant?” Doctors often order this test to confirm pregnancy.
  2. Quantitative HCG test (Beta HCG): This test measures the specific level of HCG in the blood. It can detect even very low levels of HCG, making it a highly accurate test.

How Does a Beta HCG Test Differ from Urine Tests?

While both urine pregnancy tests and Beta HCG tests aim to detect the presence of HCG, there are distinct differences:

  1. Method of Testing: Urine tests can be done at home, while Beta HCG tests require a blood sample taken in a healthcare setting.
  2. Sensitivity: Beta HCG tests are more sensitive than urine tests and can detect lower levels of HCG. This means they can confirm pregnancy earlier than urine tests — typically around 11 days after conception.
  3. Information Provided: While urine tests only provide a positive or negative result, a Beta HCG test can provide more information about the pregnancy, like the approximate age of the fetus, or if there are potential complications.

The Accuracy of Beta HCG Pregnancy Test

Beta HCG tests are highly accurate. Because they can measure the exact amount of HCG in the blood, they can detect pregnancy earlier than urine tests, and they can also confirm or rule out potential problems.

However, while the Beta HCG test can detect if you’re pregnant, a single test can’t always accurately predict a healthy pregnancy. Levels of HCG can vary greatly among individuals, and a single measurement isn’t always indicative of a problem or complication. Doctors often will test HCG levels more than once, looking at how the levels change over time.

Uses of Beta HCG Pregnancy Test

Aside from confirming pregnancy, a Beta HCG test can be used for the following:

  1. Monitoring Pregnancy: Doctors may use Beta HCG tests to monitor the health of a pregnancy, particularly in the early weeks. They may use serial measurements to see if HCG levels are rising as they should.
  2. Identifying Ectopic Pregnancy: Lower than usual levels of HCG or levels that do not increase as they should may suggest an ectopic pregnancy — where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
  3. Screening for Down’s Syndrome: As part of the “double,” “triple,” or “quadruple” screen test, the Beta HCG test can help assess a baby’s risk of Down syndrome.

Interpreting Beta HCG Test Results

Interpreting Beta HCG test results isn’t always straightforward, as normal HCG levels can vary widely. Typically, in a healthy pregnancy, HCG levels double approximately every 48 hours in the first weeks following conception.

However, unusually high or low levels, or levels that don’t increase as they should, might indicate a problem, such as an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, or a potential chromosomal abnormality. In such cases, your healthcare provider will likely order further tests to determine the cause of the abnormal HCG levels.

It’s important to remember that while the Beta HCG test is a crucial tool in pregnancy monitoring, it is just one aspect of a larger picture. It should be used in conjunction with other tests and examinations to ensure a comprehensive understanding of both maternal and fetal health.

In conclusion, the Beta HCG pregnancy test is a sensitive, accurate, and versatile tool in the early detection and monitoring of pregnancy. By understanding its uses and how to interpret the results, you can gain a more comprehensive view of your pregnancy journey.

Here are typical ranges for hCG levels during pregnancy:

  • 3 weeks: 5 – 50 mIU/mL
  • 4 weeks: 5 – 426 mIU/mL
  • 5 weeks: 18 – 7,340 mIU/mL
  • 6 weeks: 1,080 – 56,500 mIU/mL
  • 7 – 8 weeks: 7,650 – 229,000 mIU/mL
  • 9 – 12 weeks: 25,700 – 288,000 mIU/mL
  • 13 – 16 weeks: 13,300 – 254,000 mIU/mL
  • 17 – 24 weeks: 4,060 – 165,400 mIU/mL
  • 25 – 40 weeks: 3,640 – 117,000 mIU/mL

Looking to book a blood test with us? Please visit our Blood Tests page. If you already had your pregnancy confirmed, we recommend to book an early pregnancy scan to check for the baby’s wellbeing.

The New Age of Prenatal Screening: An In-depth Look at Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

Pregnancy, while a joyous period in life, is also a time filled with uncertainties. One significant concern for expectant parents is the health of their unborn child. Fortunately, modern-day medical advancements, such as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), are here to provide some peace of mind.

This article explores NIPT’s accuracy, introduces other prenatal screening options, highlights key NIPT providers, discusses its limitations and benefits, and explains instances where NIPT may not be suitable.

Unveiling Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

NIPT is a revolutionary screening test that leverages advanced technology to detect the risk of specific genetic disorders in the unborn child using a simple maternal blood draw. Common conditions screened through NIPT include Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21), Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18), and Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13). The screening can be performed as early as the 10th week of pregnancy.

Delving into NIPT’s Accuracy

When it comes to screening accuracy, NIPT outshines other prenatal screening tests. Its sensitivity and specificity for detecting Trisomy 21 exceed 99% and 99.9%, respectively. For Trisomy 18, the sensitivity and specificity approximate 97-99% and nearly 100%. For Trisomy 13, the sensitivity is between 90-96%, and the specificity again nears 100%.

However, it is paramount to understand that NIPT is a screening test, not a diagnostic tool. It can indicate the potential of a genetic disorder, but it cannot definitively diagnose the condition. A positive NIPT result suggests a higher risk, warranting further diagnostic tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) for confirmation.

Exploring Other Prenatal Screening Options

NIPT isn’t the only prenatal screening available to expectant parents. Other alternatives include:

  1. First-trimester combined screening: This screening comprises a maternal blood test and an ultrasound examination. Although it can detect about 85% of Down Syndrome cases, it does carry a higher false-positive rate compared to NIPT.
  2. Quad screen: This blood test is capable of detecting around 81% of Down Syndrome cases in women under 35.
  3. Cell-free DNA screening (cfDNA): Technically similar to NIPT, this screening method has a high level of accuracy and is typically reserved for pregnancies considered high-risk due to the associated cost.

Introducing Key NIPT Providers

Several leading companies globally offer NIPT services:

  1. Eurofins (PrenatalSafe Test): A globally recognized leader in the field of genetic testing, Eurofins offers comprehensive NIPT services.
  2. Natera (Panorama Prenatal Screen): Natera stands out for its ability to perform tests as early as the 9th week of pregnancy.
  3. Roche (Harmony Prenatal Test): Pioneers in the NIPT field, Roche’s Harmony test is widely available, being offered in more than 100 countries.
  4. BillionToOne (Unity Prenatal Test): A more recent entrant into the NIPT field, offering a more cost effective test with promising clinical data.

Each provider has unique strengths, and choosing the right one depends on several factors, including your doctor’s recommendation, the test’s availability in your area, and insurance coverage.

Weighing the Limitations and Benefits of NIPT

Like all medical procedures, NIPT has its pros and cons.

Benefits of NIPT:

  • Non-invasive: NIPT requires only a maternal blood draw, posing zero risk to the fetus.
  • Early and accurate risk assessment: Compared to traditional screening methods, NIPT provides an earlier and more precise risk evaluation for certain genetic conditions.
  • Fewer invasive procedures: With its high level of accuracy, NIPT reduces the need for invasive diagnostic procedures, which carry a risk of miscarriage.

Limitations of NIPT:

  • Screening, not diagnosis: NIPT isn’t a diagnostic test; thus, a positive result warrants confirmation with further invasive testing.
  • Limited screening scope: NIPT can’t screen for all genetic and chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Not suitable for screening physical/structural anomalies which are often more prevalent and severe.
  • Possible inconclusive results: There can be instances where NIPT results are inconclusive, necessitating a retest.

NIPT Exclusions: When is NIPT Not Suitable?

Despite its many advantages, NIPT isn’t for everyone. Certain situations can limit its effectiveness, depending on the provider of the test and their algorithm. These can be, but not limited to:

  • Pregnancies involving more than two fetuses (triplets or more).
  • When the expectant mother has a history of bone marrow or organ transplant.
  • Pregnancies resulting from a donor egg.
  • Vanishing twin pregnancies.

In such situations, a detailed discussion with the healthcare provider will help in determining the best approach for prenatal screening.

In conclusion, NIPT brings a significant shift in prenatal screening with its high accuracy rate and non-invasive nature, contributing immensely to maternal and child health care. However, it’s essential for expectant parents to discuss all options with their healthcare provider and make an informed decision. The understanding that no test is perfect and that screening tests have limitations is crucial to setting appropriate expectations.

Your health and that of your baby are of the utmost importance. An open dialogue with your healthcare provider will be the best approach to address your concerns and make an informed decision about prenatal screening.

Your Fertility Scan Guide 

Endometrial Lining Scan 

Endometrial Lining Scan, also known as the ‘Baseline Scan’, is designed to assess the thickness of the womb as well as its general outline and structure. 

These scans are popular amongst patients going through IVF treatment and are designed to guide your referring clinician, helping them to understand and plan your treatment accordingly. This is done by estimating the best time and chances for conception in addition to preparation prior to embryo transfer. Book here.

London Pregnancy Clinic offer three price packages for Endometrial Lining Scans: 

  • Endometrial Lining Scan/Baseline Scan – £120 
  • One lining ultrasound scan 
  • Rose Package – £220 
  • Two lining ultrasound scans 
  • Lily Package – £320 
  • Three lining ultrasound scans 

Follicular Tracking Scan 

Follicular Tracking Scan, also known as Antral Follicle Count, assesses the total number and size of the follicles in each ovary. 

These scans are popular amongst those going through IVF treatment. Follicle Tracking Scan helps your referring clinician to make important decisions in your fertility treatment and as such it is imperative to get accurate readings. Book now.

Similar to Endometrial Lining Scan, we offer three price packages for Follicular Tracking Scans: 

  • Follicle Tracking Scan/Antral Follicle Count: £150 
  • One follicle tracking ultrasound scan 
  • Rose Package – £270 
  • Two follicle tracking ultrasound scans 
  • Lily Package – £390 
  • Three follicle tracking ultrasound scans 

HyCoSy Scan 

This is an advanced ultrasound scan to examine the fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries providing an important insight into your fertility. 

HyCosy scans are performed by our expert Consultant Gynaecologist, Mr Prashant Purohit, specialises in reproductive medicine and fertility assessment. HyCoSy scans are recommended for patients who have experienced difficulties in getting pregnant. Book now.

  • Cost: £500 including a pre-procedure consultation 

Blood Test Services 

London Pregnancy Clinic offers a variety of different blood tests with a short turnaround time. The results will be sent to you and your referring consultant through our secure online system. 

Meet The Team

As we are a small, close-knit team you will become accustomed to seeing a few familiar faces whenever you enter the clinic, so here’s a bit more about us.

Dr Ushakov is our Founder and Medical Director. A leading expert in the field, with over 30 years’ experience in Fetal Medicine, working in three different countries. Dr Ushakov is most likely the reason you have booked your appointment with us and his patient, individual approach to each and every scan will provide you with calming reassurance.

Alcinda is our clinical assistant and her kind, calm nature will put you instantly at ease throughout your appointment. Alcinda is also trained in phlebotomy so you may also experience her excellent bedside manner during your NIPT blood test.

If you have an email or telephone enquiry you will most likely speak to our medical secretary, Ella. She is on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout your time with us. You may recognise her from the warm welcome you receive when you first enter the clinic.