An NT scan, also known as a nuchal scan is a is a “sonographic prenatal screening scan to help identify higher risks of chromosomal defects including Down’s syndrome in a fetus, particularly for older women who have higher risks of such pregnancies.” They recommend it for all women over 35. The results of the test basically give you the statistical probability that you will have a child with certain types of genetic disorders. I took the test in my last pregnancy and my probabilities were those of a 24-year-old woman so I am pretty confident that everything will be fine.
“I know you are here for the NT scan, but if you give just three more tubes of blood we can also perform something called the ‘harmony’ test. It is brand new – about two months old. We’ve done it on about 100 patients. The NT scan is only about 90% accurate. This test is about 98% accurate. Do you want it?” She is already pulling out the extra blood vials, so I’m pretty sure she thinks my answer will be yes.
She looks confused. “Um, oh. Can I ask why?”
What? Why the hell does she care? That seems like kind of a weird question. “I don’t want to have a shitty pregnancy because of the results of some brand new test that you’ve only done on 100 people. No thanks.” My good ultrasound glow is starting to wear off. I am getting annoyed.
She launches into a speech about the different types of genetic disorders it tests for and keeps reiterating that I can only legally terminate my pregnancy until I am 24 weeks pregnant. I repeat again that I don’t want the test, and she finally prepares a needle to draw the apparently disappointing one vial of blood.
Right before she sticks the needle in my arm she asks, “Can I ask – would you terminate if you found out something was wrong?”