Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
A prenatal diagnostic test, done at 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, to assess the fetus’ chromosomes. The advantage of this test over the amniocentesis is that CVS can be done earlier in gestation than the amniocentesis. However, the risks to the fetus are greater than with amniocentesis. Chorionic villi are a part of the placenta but contain fetal tissue. A needle is inserted into the chorionic villi of the placenta and a small amount of tissue is removed and sent for analysis. The placenta can be approached either through the cervix or through the mother’s abdominal wall. The results are available in 5-10 days, sooner than with routine amniocentesis.
CVS increases the risks of fetal loss by about 1.2 percent over the risk without the procedure. There have been concerns about the procedure itself causing malformations of legs and arms. This risk seems to be about 0.03 percent and is probably greater the earlier the procedure is performed.