SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Amniocentesis. Doctor performs an amniocentesis test on a pregnant woman. In one hand the doctor holds an ultrasound transducer to detect the foetus in the womb (relayed on screens at back). In the other hand a syringe is used to draw amniotic fluid from the sac surrounding the foetus. About 30 millilitres of fluid is removed. Foetal cells in the amniotic fluid are then tested for chromosomal or other genetic disorders, such as Down's syndrome, haemophilia, cystic fibrosis. The test is usually performed at 16-18 weeks into pregnancy. Because of risks associated with this test, amniocentesis is only recommended for women whose chance of a foetal disorder is high.
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