Cordocentesis, also known as fetal blood sampling and Percutaneous blood sampling (PUBS), is a method of prenatal diagnostic testing that's being used to diagnosis in utero complications, including Down syndrome and heart defects. It's also becoming a commonly used method by the gynaecologists for treating defects while the baby is still in the uterus. Cordocentesis is sometimes used to confirm whether a woman is carrying a Down syndrome child. It is, however, carried out very late during pregnancy and has a higher risk of miscarriage than other invasive tests carried out earlier. In most countries, terminating a pregnancy at 26 weeks is illegal and thus, a woman who seeks to know whether or not her unborn baby has Down's is probably only doing so to prepare for the birth of a Down syndrome child and to start learning about how to care for one of these special need children. Cordocentesis is performed in a manner similar to amniocentesis. A fine needle is inserted through the pregnant woman's abdomen into the vein of the umbilical cord. The procedure lasts about an hour. Cordocentesis in fetuses is performed when amniocentesis, or a CVS, is unsuccessful or inconclusive in tracking fetal abnormalities. Although cordocentesis is considered a safe procedure, it is recognised as an invasive diagnostic test that does pose potential risks. Miscarriage is the primary risk related to cordocentesis, occurring -1-2 times out of every 100 procedures.
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