SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SATURN STILLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Amniocentesis. Doctor (second from left) performs an amniocentesis test on a pregnant woman while others look on. 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 30 ml of amniotic fluid from the sac surrounding the foetus. Foetal cells in the amniotic fluid are then tested for genetic disorders, such as Down's syndrome, haemophilia and 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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