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Is It Possible To Detect Cystic Fibrosis in an Unborn Baby?
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Finding out whether a baby is likely to have CF is possible using prenatal genetic tests. However, the tests cannot detect all of the cystic fibrosis gene mutations. Also, because these tests are very expensive and have certain risks to the mother, they are not used for all pregnant women. If there is another child with CF in the family, the expectant mother may request a prenatal test to see if the fetus has CF genes from both parents, is a carrier for one gene, or is altogether free of the cystic fibrosis genes.
There are two special prenatal tests that can be done--either an
amniocentesis or chorionic villus biopsy will be performed. In amniocentesis,
cells from the fluid surrounding the baby in the mother's womb (called the
amniotic fluid) are tested to see if the CF genes common to the parents are
present. In chorionic villus biopsy, cells from the tissue that will eventually
form the placenta are tested for the cystic fibrosis gene.
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