Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method of duplicating
DNA strands from a tiny sample of blood, hair, or
tissue. PCR is used to identify infectious diseases, genetic conditions, and
genetic links between people.
PCR is preferred over a fetal blood test for
Collecting amniotic fluid through
amniocentesis is considered safer than fetal blood
PCR is better than antibody testing to detect
PCR can be done earlier in a pregnancy than a blood
test for antibodies. Because first- and second-trimester fetal infection carry
the highest risk of birth defects and
intellectual disability, earlier test results are
important to parents who are considering ending such a pregnancy.
Nayeri U, Thung S (2013). Congenital fetal infections. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology, 11th ed., pp. 267–289. New York: McGraw-Hill.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.