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Amniocentesis (amniotic fluid test or AFT), is a test, based on the chromosomal pattern in the amniotic fluid surrounding the developing embryo.

Amniocentesis helps physicians to test the fetus for the existence of genetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities or certain other infections.

It is relatively safe and recommended if there is a family history of a genetic disease or a Down syndrome risk.

Usually it is performed from 15th to 17th week of pregnancy.

During amniocentesis, a long needle is passed through the abdominal wall to collect amniotic fluid containing fetal cells.

Later this sample is allowed to undergo mitosis in the laboratory and genetic abnormalities are examined.

In some countries this procedure has legal restrictions, as can be used for prenatal sex discernment as well. 

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