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Genetic amniocentesis can provide information about your baby's genetic makeup.
Generally, genetic amniocentesis is offered when the test results might have a significant impact on the management of the pregnancy or your desire to continue the pregnancy.
This is a 'diagnostic test' and one advantage of the CVS test over amniocentesis is that it can be carried out early in pregnancy, at about 11-13 weeks.
At present this test isn't available everywhere, but can show up a number of disorders in your developing baby, including Down syndrome, though not spina bifida.
Amniocentesis isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider might discourage amniocentesis if you have an infection, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.