Private Amniocentesis During Pregnancy

With recent changes to healthcare in the UK, many people are turning to private healthcare services for anyone of a number of services. Many private providers offer antenatal services, which include tests like amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is a procedure available to women who are between their 15th and 20th week of pregnancy. The test can be performed after or before these points, but usually in only particular and rare circumstances.

Amniocentesis is an option available to you on both the NHS and within private care should you prefer that route. As with the NHS however, there are some considerations when it comes to opting for this test in private care.

When can amniocentesis be performed in private care?

When you can receive amniocentesis will vary between different private healthcare providers. Generally speaking however, you can request the test if you really want it in private care, whereas under the NHS you are unlikely to be able to have amniocentesis unless your doctor believes that there is good medical cause for the test.

Even in private care however the test is not performed lightly, and you will be made very aware of the potential risks involved in the procedure, which include a chance of infection, injury to yourself and your unborn child, and in a small number of cases, miscarriage.

Your private doctor is likely to recommend the amniocentesis test under the following circumstances:

  1. If you have a family history of genetic illnesses like muscular dystrophy or Down’s Syndrome.
  2. If you are over 35 as you will have a higher chance of bearing a child with a chromosomal defect that can lead to illness.
  3. If you have had a previous pregnancy or child with a genetic illness.
  4. If earlier genetic screens revealed a chance of your child inheriting a genetic condition.
  5. If earlier antenatal screens revealed any cause for further testing. E.g. the presence of a certain protein that indicates spinal bifida.

Remember that amniocentesis is a procedure with some risks, and while it can offer peace of mind in cases where there is a risk of your unborn child carrying a genetic disease, you should always consult your doctor or a specialist genetic counsellor about whether the test is worth the risk.=

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