Prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening, also known as noninvasive prenatal screening, is a method to screen for certain chromosomal abnormalities in a developing baby.

During prenatal cell-free DNA screening, DNA from the mother and fetus is extracted from a maternal blood sample and screened for the increased chance for specific chromosome problems, such as Down syndrome, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18. This screening can also provide information about fetal sex and rhesus (Rh) blood type.

Prenatal cell-free DNA screening is recommended for women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant and have adequate counseling regarding the options, benefits and limits of first and second trimester screening. Your health care provider or a genetic counselor will discuss whether prenatal cell-free DNA screening might benefit you and how to interpret the results.