Pregnancy and Abortion

Amniocentesis: A Test That Increases Risk of Miscarriage

Many tests are taken during pregnancy to ascertain existence of or to identify genetic developmental problems in the embryo. They reassure the mother that all is well with her baby’s development. One of the tests done is amniocentesis where a needle pierces the embryonic sac and a sample of the embryonic liquid is drawn for examination.

This test yields very accurate results regarding  genetically caused developmental flaws or other problems with the embryo including infections. That is why the test is highly recommended by doctors. However it increases the risk of miscarriage. Statistics show 1 out of 200 women who take the test will suffer from bleeding and other complications that sometimes lead to miscarriage. That is why in Israel, the test is generally available only to women age 35 and up where development risk is more prevalent. A younger woman can order the test privately at her own expense for approximately 2,500 NIS unless there are accepted medical reasons for the test like a problematic ultrasound.

Israeli statistics show that 20% of pregnant women take this test compared to the (first) world average of only 5%. In spite of this, only 60% of children born with Down syndrome were detected with this test in Israel as opposed to 75% in western countries.

This statistic shows that not every woman over 35 constitutes a higher risk for Down syndrome or other developmental risks so the test isn’t always necessary. Other criteria outside of age must be included in the decision to take this test.

Curiosity should not be a factor in taking this test. The life of your future baby can be at stake.


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