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Amniocentesis Test Procedure


Introduction:

  • Amniocentesis is a prenatal anomaly test i.e., a technique for determining congenital disorders on the basis of chromosomal patterns in the amniotic fluid surrounding the developing embryo.
  • This technique can also be used (also misused) for pre-natal sex determination.
  • Congenital diseases are those diseases that occur by chromosomal aberrations. For example, down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome etc.
  • Amniotic fluid is a clear, pale yellow fluid. It protects the foetus from an injury like an infection.

Topics covered-

  • Procedure of amniocentesis
  • Significance of amniocentesis
  • Drawbacks of amniocentesis

Procedure -

  • In the 14th or 15th week of pregnancy with the help of a long surgical needle, the amniotic fluid surrounding the foetus is extracted out.
  • In this fluid few cells of the embryo (skin, liver and placenta) are present, from which the chromosomal pattern and their abnormalities can be studied.
  • This test is useful to know about the-
    a.Genetic disorders/ chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, etc.
    b.Metabolic disorders present in the developing foetus like deficiency of protein, enzymes or hormones.
    c.Detection of sex on the basis of barr bodies present in amniotic fluid.
  • The figure given below depicts the procedure for amniocentesis-

Significance of amniocentesis-

  • If any congenital disorders are found in the developing foetus, then the mother can opt for abortion, for the betterment of both mother and the unborn baby.
  • Parents can know about the baby’s health conditions before its birth.
  • Any kind of metabolic disorder like deficiency of enzyme, protein, etc. can be assessed and addressed accordingly.


    amniocentesis

 

Drawbacks of amniocentesis-

  • In the earlier times, this technique was misused as it is capable of determining the sex of a developing foetus.
  • Due to this, the female foeticide i.e., illegal abortion of the developing female foetus increased.

To overcome this drawback of amniocentesis, the Government of India has imposed a statutory ban on this technique under the Pre Natal diagnostic techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act which was enforced in 1994.
This act aimed to legally check the increasing female foeticide which is causing an unfavourable sex ratio.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
 

Q1. Why is there a ban on amniocentesis?
Ans:

  • Amniocentesis is a foetal sex determination test based on the chromosomal pattern in the amniotic fluid surrounding the developing embryo.
  • This technique is used for prenatal sex determination of a developing foetus and also for finding congenital disorders.
  • In the earlier times, this technique was misused as it is capable of determining the sex of developing foetus due to this female foeticide increased. Female foeticide is the abortion of the developing foetus if it is a female.
  • To overcome this drawback of amniocentesis, the Government of India has imposed a statutory ban on this technique under the Pre Natal diagnostic techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act which was enforced in 1994.
  • This act aimed to legally check the increasing female foeticide which is causing an unfavourable sex ratio.

Q2. What is the permissible use of the amniocentesis technique?
Ans:

  • Amniocentesis can be only used for finding chromosomal abnormalities with strict actions.
  • Sex determination using amniocentesis is strictly prohibited.

Q3. What do you understand by congenital disorders?
Ans:

  • Congenital disorders are those diseases which occur by chromosomal aberrations and hence are present from the birth of an individual.
  • For example, down syndrome, klinefelter syndrome etc.
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