Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test used to diagnose certain genetic abnormalities and birth defects in your baby.
Why get chorionic villus sampling?
Your health care provider may recommend this test if you or your partner have a medical history that reveals potential risks.
- You can schedule CVS early in your pregnancy (between 10 and 13 weeks).
- The test is not given to all pregnant women because there is a small chance of miscarriage after the test.
- CVS is different from amniocentesis, which is performed a little later in pregnancy.
Why should I schedule a CVS test?
You may want to have CVS if you are at risk of having a baby with a genetic abnormality. These risks include:
- Being 35 or older
- Family history of a genetic health issue (you or your partner)
- Having a previous pregnancy or child with a congenital disability
- Abnormal results from a pregnancy screening test
What can I expect during chorionic villus sampling?
During the test, Dr. Heather Stanley-Christian will take a tiny piece of tissue from the placenta. There are two kinds of CVS tests:
- Transcervical CVS (testing through the cervix)
- Transabdominal CVS (testing through the abdomen)
During transcervical CVS, Dr. Stanley-Christian will place a thin tube through the vagina and cervix. The tube gently sucks in a tiny sample of the placenta tissue.
During transabdominal CVS, she will put a thin needle through your belly into the womb. The needle will take a small sample of the placenta tissue. The tissue sample will be sent off to a lab where it will be tested and examined.
How long will it take to receive the results?
Test results from chorionic villus sampling are usually available within 7 days.
What is the next step after I receive my results?
If CVS shows that your baby has a genetic disorder, you can discuss your options with Dr. Stanley-Christian. Early knowledge of a congenital disability may help you get ready to care for your baby before he or she is born.
What are the risks and complications?
Most women find CVS to be a painless test, and Transcervical CVS is often described as feeling similar to a Pap smear.
- Some women will experience cramping when the sample is taken.
- In the days following your test, you may experience spotting or cramping for a few hours.
- CVS does have a small risk of miscarriage, although this is rare and is around a 1% chance.