If you find yourself concerned about the health of your unborn baby, Amniocentesis can provide peace of mind. Amniocentesis is a prenatal diagnostic procedure used to detect (or far more likely, to rule out) the presence of certain chromosomal anomalies in the fetus you are carrying. This test is performed during the second trimester of the pregnancy (between the 15th and 22nd week), generally during the 16th week.

Amniocentesis is performed in two stages:

  • Abdominal puncture to extract some amniotic fluid.
  • Laboratory culture of the fetal cells present in the sample of amniotic fluid followed by the analysis of chromosomes.

The first stage of the procedure only takes a few minutes. The laboratory stage can take 7 to 12 days. This timeframe is a general rule, but can sometimes increase. Several studies conducted worldwide have shown that ultrasound guided amniocentesis is safe for both the mother and her baby. There is however, a 0.5 to 1% risk of maternal infection and miscarriage (1).

Who is a candidate for amniocentesis?

  • Any pregnant woman who, at her due date, will be 40 years of age or older (2).
  • Any woman whose Combitest® screen results are high risk (blood tests and/or fetal ultrasound).
  • Any woman whose ultrasound results indicate a potential fetal chromosomal anomaly.
  • Any woman who has a family history or whose partner has a family history of one or more incidents of chromosomal anomalies or genetic disorders with a high recurrence risk.
  • It is also possible for women under the age of 40, with no history of genetic disorder to have an amniocentesis; it is a matter of personal choice.

Please note that a medical referral is always required. Speak with your physician to learn if an amniocentesis procedure is right for you, and available at your Procrea Fertility location.

(1) SOGC Guidelines, 2015
(2) SOGC Guidelines, 2007

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