Amniocentesis (Amniotic Fluid Analysis, Amniotic Fluid Puncture)
Amniocentesis is usually performed from week 14 of the pregnancy onwards (the optimal point of time lies between the 16th and 17th week of pregnancy) to analyze the chromosomes of the baby. Under continuous ultrasound guidance, a very thin needle is inserted into the amniotic cavity and approximately 15 ml of amniotic fluid are withdrawn. The procedure only takes a few minutes. The collected fetal cells will be cultured. Since these cells need a certain period of time to grow, the result of the amniotic analysis will be available approximately two weeks after the puncture.
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH testing) helps to detect the most frequent genetic disorders within one or two days (rapid diagnostics test). However, compulsory health insurance funds do usually not cover the costs of FISH testing.
Measuring the amount of alpha-fetoprotein, a protein that is present in the fluid, and of an enzyme may indicate the presence of an open spine (Spina bifida). These kinds of examinations are not possible via chorionic villus biopsy.
Amniocentesis and chorionic villus biopsy are recognized as invasive diagnostic tests that do pose potential risks. For more detailed information, please go to the download area.