What are the tests done on the amniotic fluid

What are the tests done on the amniotic fluid

The following tests can be done on the amniotic fluid:

  • Chromosome Analysis
  • Examination of Aphafetoprotein
  • Other tests if indicated

The laboratory tests


Using special procedures in the laboratory, cells are grown in a culture medium. The cells are then fixed and stained. With high power microscopy the chromosomes in these cells can be examined and in this way it possible to find out if
 the baby has Down syndrome, or any of the other
 known less common chromosome problems. This is called a karyotype.
 Also, by looking at the chromosomes, the sex of the
baby can be determined.


In order to get faster results, the laboratories have developed a technique called fast Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridization, where some of the cells from the sample are stained with a fluorescent dye. This can give us results for chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X & Y, in 24 hours. This is especially popular for women who have had a high risk result for Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Amniotic fluid AFP

The amount of a particular protein alpha fetoprotein can also be measured. There is usually an increased
 amount of this protein present in the fluid when the baby has the abnormality called spina bifida. However these days, modern ultrasound equipment is better at detecting spina bifida than the amniotic fluid alpha fetoprotein test. So these days amniotic fluid AFP is only ordered under special circumstances.