Clinics Offering Chorionic Villus Sampling


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Antenatal care in general is an essential part of the National Health Service’s provision of public healthcare, and is vital to ensuring that your pregnancy is as healthy and safe as possible. Unfortunately the NHS is under some limitations in terms of how much care it can provide because it is a publicly funded organisation, and so, for example, first time mums are given a maximum of 10 antenatal appointments, while subsequent pregnancies are given 9 appointments on average. While this is enough to monitor your pregnancy and make sure that everything is going as it should, you may want further antenatal care for reasons of your own, and this is where private healthcare is often sought.

One of the modern provisions of both private and NHS antenatal care is Chorionic Villus Sampling, a form of testing which allows your doctor and yourself a look at the future health of an unborn baby. CVS is becoming an integral part of antenatal care.

What is CVS?

CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) is a test which examines foetal cells taken from the placenta, a structure linking the developing unborn child and mother, providing a medium through which nutrients and waste are provided and removed respectively.

Once these cells have been carefully extracted, they are examined in a laboratory to determine the presence of any defective genes that can cause any one of a number of different genetic illnesses.

Where can I receive CVS?

In the UK there are a number of different private providers of Chorionic Villus Sampling, and the test is also available on the NHS should you need it. Because CVS involves a very delicate invasive procedure to extract the cells needed for testing, it is not a genetic test that can be conducted by online or distance providers. A hospital or accredited clinic with the necessary facilities and equipment for the procedure are needed.

CVS on the NHS

CVS is provided on the NHS only when there is a risk of a child developing a potentially debilitating disorder. The test has a number of risks inherent to it, and as such is not performed lightly. A good example of where CVS is recommended and often performed is where a parent has had a child with Down’s Syndrome, or carries a genetic history of an illness like Cystic Fibrosis. These conditions are caused by defective genes which can be detected using CVS. As these conditions can severely impede a child’s quality of life, and have far reaching consequences on the family as a whole, the benefits of CVS are thought to exceed the risks.

CVS from Private Healthcare Providers

Antenatal care is a growing market for private healthcare providers, and as such many now provide a comprehensive antenatal service complete with the option of genetic testing. You can receive CVS from private providers in the UK, although you will have to pay for the test to be performed. Large services are a good example of such care providers, and the benefit of going private for this kind of test is that it will often be performed quickly and effectively. Moreover while the NHS will only offer CVS where there is a high risk of a child being born with a disabling hereditary disease, there is more flexibility in private care.

Whether you decide to choose the NHS or private providers as the source of a CVS testing, both parties should provide you with an abundance information about the procedure and the risks involved. At the end of the day, while invaluable to antenatal care, the CVS test carries with it a small risk of miscarriage of which you should be very aware. 


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