Looking At Baby’s DNA During Pregnancy

It is possible to determine your baby’s DNA while you are pregnant. There are two specific tests, the amniocentesis and the Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS for short) that are often done during pregnancy to test a baby’s DNA. There are several reasons that parents might want to determine a baby’s DNA while pregnant. These might include paternity testing, gender determination, or testing to determine whether the baby is at risk for specific genetic or birth defects.

The timing of DNA testing during pregnancy is crucial. There are essentially two specific windows of time in which DNA testing can be done. The first window is between the 10th and 13th week of pregnancy. During this time, a CVS can be done. With CVS, your health care provider will insert a thin tube or needle into the vagina, through the cervix, to try to obtain little finger-like pieces of tissue attached to the uterine wall, known as chorionic villi. Your health care provider will use an ultrasound to help guide the tube or needle. Chorionic villi comes from the same fertilized egg that your fetus comes from, and consequently has the same DNA makeup as your baby.

The second window of opportunity comes after the first, between the 14th and the 20th week of pregnancy. During an amniocentesis, your health care provider will utilize an ultrasound machine to help him guide a thin needle into your uterus, by way of your abdomen. This needle will draw out a little bit of amniotic fluid. This amniotic fluid is then tested for DNA. There are some risks with amniocentesis, including a chance of harm to the baby as well as a chance of miscarriage. You might also experience leaking of amniotic fluid, vaginal bleeding, or cramping.

Determining your baby’s DNA while pregnant can be expensive. Both of the procedures listed above will likely cost somewhere between $1000 and $2000. In many cases, unless your baby or your pregnancy are at risk, your insurance company will not pay this fee. In addition, these tests cannot be done at a whim. Each requires a doctor’s recommendation to have the testing done.