BSIP, ASTIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, ASTIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Amniocentesis. Doctors removing amniotic fluid from the abdomen of a pregnant woman. This procedure is known as amniocentesis. A small amount of fluid is extracted via a needle from the amniotic sac, which surrounds the foetus in the womb. An ultrasound scanner (lower right) is used to determine where to puncture the womb. Foetal cells in the fluid are screened to test for disorders such as Down's syndrome, haemophilia and cystic fibrosis. Amniocentesis is usually performed 16-18 weeks into pregnancy. No anaesthetic is required but the test does involve a significant risk to the foetus. Photographed at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, France.
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