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Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) Details

In chorionic villus sampling (CVS), the doctor collects a small piece of tissue from the placenta using a needle passed through the mother’s vagina and cervix. The placenta has the same genetic makeup as the baby.

Most healthy women do not need all the tests. Ultrasound examinations during pregnancy are routine, although they are not always required and rarely influence treatment decisions. Amniocentesis and CVS are recommended only when a risk of genetic problems exists because of family history or something detected during an ultrasound. Amniocentesis and CVS carry a slight risk of harming the baby and mother, or ending the pregnancy in miscarriage, so those risks should be weighed carefully against the potential benefits of learning about the baby’s condition. .

Amniocentesis, the removal and analysis of a small sample of foetal cells from the amniotic fluid, is widely available and involves a lower risk of miscarriage than chorionic villus sampling. However, amniocentesis cannot be done until the 14th to 18th week of pregnancy.

Chorionic villus sampling, conducted at 9 to 11 weeks of pregnancy, involves extracting a tiny amount of chorionic villi, tissue extensions that will eventually develop into a placenta. The villi can be obtained through the pregnant woman's abdomen or cervix. This type of sampling carries a 1-2% risk of miscarriage.

A third diagnostic method, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling or PUBS, is the most accurate method in detecting Down's syndrome and can be used to confirm the results of CVS or amniocentesis. However, PUBS cannot be performed until later in the pregnancy, during the 18th to 22nd weeks, and carries the greatest risk of miscarriage. Extra care should be taken in this time and if need be contact your doctor at once.


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