What fetal blood sampling can tell youFetal blood testing can reveal the presence of genetic or chromosomal defects, and the presence of abnormal cells in the fetus’ blood. It can also reveal the presence of certain diseases, often allowing for prenatal treatment. Fetal blood testing is the only way to test for fetal anemia.
What an Abnormal Result MeansThe most common chromosomal disorder detected is Down Syndrome, which causes mental retardation and other health problems, such as heart defects. The test can also diagnose fetal infections, such as toxoplasmosis or rubella, blood diseases, fetal malformations, fetal platelet counts, and blood disorders such as fetal anemia and Rh disease, also known as isoimmunisation.
Pros, Cons and RisksWhen preformed by an experienced medical profession, fetal blood sampling is a relatively safe, low risk procedure. There is, however, a two to five per cent risk of miscarriage following the test. Other risks include: bleeding from the needle wound, leaking of amniotic fluid, changes to the fetal heart rate and infections.
The benefits of fetal blood testing include allowing prenatal treatment for fetuses with severe blood damaging diseases. The test can also provide specialized information about the baby’s health that could not otherwise be known.