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Nuchal fold tests - did you have to pay for yours? Is it just a postcode lottery thing?

65 replies

KIQFTM · 30/09/2004 13:08


I'm a regular poster but am just keeping things under wraps for a bit.

I'm 8 weeks pregnant and 40. It seems my local health authority don't do nuchal fold tests/scans. In fact the people I have spoken to all seem rather vague about it and almost surprised that I've asked. So far, I've pretty much been told I need to organise it myself. Is this standard throughout the UK? Have heard some health authorities do them routinely or will based upon your age. Is there anyway round it or am I just stuck with having to pay if I want it done.

Really, really not sure what I would do regarding results, just exploring all avenues at the moment


OP posts:
handbagaddiction · 30/09/2004 13:12

I think it is a lottery - I got a combined dating and nuchal fold scan at 13 weeks in my health authority for free when I was pregnant with dd. That was Surrey Health Authority and nuchal scans are routinely done for all expectant mothers.

Tow of my lose friends though, one in Hampshire and the other in Berkshire, both had to pay for nuchal scans at 13 weeks. If they had not done this, their first routine scans would have been done at 20 weeks.

Rowlers · 30/09/2004 13:13

Think you're right, it is a postcode lottery.
A 40 year old friend of mine had it done on NHS, I had to go private and pay £100. If you're 40, I was under the impression that most health authorities did the scan as a matter of course (presuming you want it) but I must be wrong.
Sorry that I can't help more than that!

Marina · 30/09/2004 13:26

You are unlucky KIQFTM, as Rowlers says, these days, most authorities are able to offer Nuchals to "older" mums at the least.

I would definitely pay and if you are able to travel to London go to the Harris Birthright Centre at King's. They are pioneering enhancements to the nuchal scan (which they developed originally) so that it becomes even more accurate while remaining safer than invasive testing.

I also think that it's a NICE recommendation that nuchals be rolled out for all pregnancies across the NHS. But that's going to be implemented too late for you I fear.

Congratulations, good luck, keep us posted (and come out when you're ready )

pepsi · 30/09/2004 13:32

Yes I paid for mine.

prettycandles · 30/09/2004 13:53

Very much a lottery, unfortunately.

With ds I was 34 and was booked for a dating scan at 10w, plus a special scan at 11w as I had concerns re spina bifida. At my booking-in, after the dating scan, my gyne said that it was far too early to check for spina bifida, but I might as well take advantage of the appointment at the specialist scanning unit to have a nuchal, if I wanted to.

The second time around I was 36 and (as with so much in that pregnancy) was offered a nuchal because I had had one in the previous pregnancy. There's no logic!

florenceuk · 30/09/2004 13:56

In Merton they do them routinely - and seems fairly common across London.

aloha · 30/09/2004 14:40

I would head to lovely balmy SE LOndon, and go to Kings & the Harris Birthright Centre. I am lucky and had all my scans there and it's the best place in the world, probably. I'm 41 and just had a 20 week scan with the room crawling with professors to check every millimetre of my baby.

Bellie · 30/09/2004 14:46

Had mine routinely at 13 weeks in Surrey

KIQFTM · 30/09/2004 14:49

Thanks so much for your replies so far everyone. I's up in the north so the SE is a bit far for me. I'm getting quite annoyed now reading about all these free ones. Keep 'em coming, especially if you had free one> Name your health auathority and your age - feel a letter to my MP coming on.

Can you actually demand another health authority looks after you? Or are you just stuck?

OP posts:
KIQFTM · 30/09/2004 14:50

I'm not I's?

OP posts:
babster · 30/09/2004 15:02

I'm in the SE and I wasn't offered one Think I might be joining you in writing letters - just had my triple test result back, which wasn't great, so the nuchal fold test might have just alleviated my anxiety a bit.

Marina · 30/09/2004 15:12

My HA was Greenwich & Bexley, I've been 35, 38 and 39 at scan dates, nuchals are routinely offered to mums over 30 and anyone at raised risk of chromosomal deficiencies and the HA participates in research at the Harris Birthright to improve nuchal scan accuracy.
Good luck with your campaign.

Metrobaby · 30/09/2004 15:16

Under my Health Authority (croydon) I wasn't offered one. However my doctor was happy to write a letter and I had a nuchal fold scan done at St Georges in Tooting, London. I aslo think its a lottery thing as my friend came under Sutton and anyone over 30 is allowed one.

hoxtonchick · 30/09/2004 15:19

I had one, aged 26, at St Mary's in London.

bundle · 30/09/2004 15:22

asked for one with dd2, when i was 37, it was free, i live in hackney but hospital was in islington, got my doctor to write a referral saying i'd requested a nuchal - which the hospital never i had to ring them and get them to fax it through again (while i stayed on the phone!) so i could get the scan in time.

bundle · 30/09/2004 15:23

(hc, i forget how young you are, you young thing!)

OxyMoron · 30/09/2004 15:24

I had one at age 25 in Oxford. Had to pay over £100 for it, but otherwise wouldn't have had a scan till 22 wks. Would definitely do it again.

hoxtonchick · 30/09/2004 15:43
bundle · 30/09/2004 15:45

so true...but i'm edging towards

Beetlebug · 30/09/2004 17:54

Hi there KIQFTM. I had a routine NHS nuchal scan at St Thomas'Hospital in South london. It's something that's offered to everyone who lives in this neck of the woods regardless of age. I'm 29 and this will be my third baby.

rydercup · 30/09/2004 19:20

Hi - had my first ds in Surrey where nuchal scan was part of NHS standard care!! Have just moved to Leeds where it is not and funnily enough have just had it done privately today at a cost of £100. Its amazing the difference across the country - and I guess it does come down to local trusts and health authority funding! If you are anywhere near Leeds can give you details of the centre I went to!

KIQFTM · 30/09/2004 20:09

Thanks so far everyone.

Rydercup - emailed Leeds today about it funnily enough. Told £100 for the nuchal fold and an extra £85 for the blood tests.

Does anyone one know what an OSCARS test is? Is this just the same the tests described about?

On the face of it there seems to be a bit of a North/South divide here. Or certainly a London bias

Wonder what would happen if I made up some family risks?

OP posts:
DelGirl · 30/09/2004 20:21

I got offered one free (dorset}. I'm 38. Think it must be a postcode lottery but I don't think they offer under the age of 35 normally

Fennel · 30/09/2004 20:22

I'm in Manchester and everyone I know who's had them here has had to pay privately.

There's reasons other than financial why not all authorities offer nuchal scans. I looked into it quite a lot last year when I had one. It's partly because there is disagreement in the medical community over whether it is actually helpful to offer them routinely. There are negative outcomes as well as positive (eg the anxieties they throw up, the higher likelihood of having CVS and Amnio and therefore more chance of healthy babies miscarrying).

I'm not against them, I had one, but was interested that it's not necessarily just money which stops all authorities being keen on them. actually they were right in my case it would probably have been better to have just had an amnio without all the hassle and worry caused by the nuchal scan.

bronniemuldoon · 30/09/2004 20:36

I've just had mine today! I'm 32 and in Bristol and they don't offer them here as routine so had to pay (£190!). Feel a bit ripped off but couldn't bear to wait until (free) 20 week scan to see the baby plus also put my mind at rest as got back some good results. 2 years ago when I had DS we did the same although it only cost £120 then (they didn't do a blood test alongside the scan then which is what made it more expensive this time around).

Having said all this when I went for my booking in appointment with the midwife she said that they are going to be bringing in early scanning as routine from October this year so I just missed out. I don't think this would be a nuchal scan though - she said it was easier and more accurate to do a dating scan earlier than later.

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