WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY WILL & DENI MCINTYRE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A doctor performing amniocentesis on a woman in the late part of pregnancy. Amniocentesis involves taking a sample of amniotic fluid from the uterus through a hollow needle. An ultrasound probe (left) is used to prevent accidental injury to the unborn child. The fluid contains cells shed by the child's skin, these may be examined to provide an early diagnosis of many biochemical and chromosonal abnormalities such as Down's Syndrome and spina bifida.
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