Analysis of the chromosomes of the unborn child through amniocentesis or chorionic villous sampling

Through an extraction of amniotic fluid in the 15th week of pregnancy using a thin needle that is inserted through the maternal abdominal wall it is possible to examine the chromosomes of your unborn child in order to identify congenital defects. The risk of a miscarriage most times through infections or rupture of membranes caused by the amniocentesis is 0,5–1%.

If there is a higher risk for a chromosomal disorder and an earlier examination is requested, chorionic villous sampling can be conducted after the 10th week of pregnancy. With a thicker needle, tissue of the placenta will be extracted. The risk for a miscarriage is about twice as high as with amniocentesis.

Those examinations provide evidence concerning the presence of chromosomal disorders, such as trisomy 21. Diseases like cystic fibrosis which are specific mutations will not be checked in general, but in case a familiar disposition is known, it could be checked as well. That is why genetic counseling in cases of a familiar disposition is often helpful.

In general, amniocentesis is recommended for pregnant women above the age of 35 or in case chromosomal disorders are known in your family.

The statutory health insurance covers the costs of such an examination.

back | read on