Scheme details

Broad principles underpinning the Edinburgh schemes are described in a recent review. More detailed information is available in the Participants’ Handbook, which includes examples of reports. Brief surveys of recent relevant literature are also provided. Results can be submitted electronically on the web by registered participants with a UK NEQAS password (obtainable from the centre) or by fax. Monthly reports, Annual Reviews of scientific data, Survey reports and other information can also be accessed via the same website.

Schemes provided are listed in the table below. Dates of specimen dispatch are detailed in our Distribution Schedule. Participants can join the schemes at any time of year, with charges made pro rata for the remainder of the financial year. A price list is available on request.

Scheme Analyte(s) Specimens per distribution Registration form
Peptide I Luteinising hormone (LH)
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)
Prolactin
5, liquid serum, monthly – specimens contain all 4 analytes
Growth hormone 4, liquid serum, monthly
Peptide II Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) 3, freeze-dried plasma, bimonthly
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) 4, freeze-dried plasma, bimonthly
Calcitonin (hCT) 3, freeze-dried plasma, bimonthly
Tumour markers α-Fetoprotein (AFP)
Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
5, liquid serum, monthly – specimens contain all 3 analytes
Pregnancy testing hCG 2, liquid urine, monthly
Maternal serum screening Neural tube defects (AFP)

  • AFP
  • AFP multiples of the median (MoMs)
  • Risk of NTD
  • Recommendation for follow-up (NTD)
3, liquid serum, monthly
1st trimester Down’s syndrome (serum)

  • Free beta-subunit of hCG (hCGβ)
  • hCGβ MoMs
  • Pregnancy associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A)
  • PAPP-A MoMs
  • Risk of Down’s syndrome (at sampling or at
    term, biochemistry ± nuchal translucency)
  • Recommendation for follow-up
3, liquid serum, monthly
1st trimester Down’s syndrome (dried blood spots) – Pilot scheme

  • hCGβ
  • hCGβ MoMs
  • PAPP-A
  • PAPP-A MoMs
  • Risk of Down’s syndrome (at sampling or at term, biochemistry ± nuchal translucency)
  • Recommendation for follow-up
5, dried blood spots, monthly
2nd trimester Down’s syndrome (serum)

  • AFP
  • AFP MoMs
  • hCG / hCGβ
  • hCG / hCGβ MoMs
  • Unconjugated oestriol (uE3)
  • Inhibin A
  • Inhibin A MoMs
  • Risk of Down’s Syndrome (at sampling or at term)
  • Software & version
3, liquid serum, monthly
Placental growth factor (PlGF) (serum) – Pilot scheme

  • PlGF
3, liquid serum, monthly