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Alabama’s Mothers Deserve Access to NIPT

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

Founded by mothers and for mothers, our team at Stand Up for APA works every day to ensure that all pregnant women throughout the U.S. have equitable access to the best prenatal and maternal care. This includes access for all mothers to non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT).

What is NIPT, and why is it important?

Non-invasive prenatal tests, commonly referred to as NIPT, use a mother’s blood samples to analyze a baby’s DNA for common genetic abnormalities. Research has shown that NIPTs are the most accurate test available, able to predict chromosomal disorders with greater precision than traditional screening methods. In fact, older testing methods result in a 95% increase in false positive results for common chromosomal abnormalities, prompting unnecessary stress and burdens for women and their families during an already stressful time in their lives. NIPT – already endorsed for all pregnant women by leading medical societies like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) – allows women and families the opportunity to prepare most appropriately for babies in need or to deliver their child in a tertiary facility.

However, both Alabama’s Medicaid program and the largest private insurer in the state – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBS Alabama) – continue to restrict access to NIPT. Only mothers deemed “high risk” (meaning that they’re over the age of 35 or have had a history of a prior pregnancy with a trisomy, or have had an ultrasound that indicated an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities) currently have access to the superior prenatal testing option.

Alabama mothers deserve better.

What can I do to hold agencies and providers accountable?

First, we must continue to educate all Alabama mothers on the critical need to provide NIPT access for all. Second, we must raise our voices and let our state’s public officials and providers know that access to the best prenatal and maternal care is a top priority for all of us. In Alabama, that starts with telling decision-makers at Alabama’s Medicaid office and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama that ALL Alabama mothers deserve the most accurate prenatal screening information available to them.

Please feel free to print out and share our fact sheet below, and let the Alabama Medicaid office and BCBS Alabama know that every mother needs access to NIPT – no matter what.

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