Jefferson University Hospitals

Chorionic Villus Sampling

If you and your obstetrician are concerned about genetic conditions being passed through to your unborn child, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) can provide the genetic diagnostic information early in your pregnancy (typically between 10 to 13 weeks gestation). If you need this procedure, seek the expertise of physicians in Jefferson's Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Our physicians helped pioneer CVS. We are one of the most experienced perinatal labs in the country performing CVS and have been offering this important procedure since 1984. Patients travel to Jefferson from across the United States as well as abroad to have their CVS performed by our perinatologists (maternal-fetal medicine specialists).

Before Chorionic Villus Sampling

A discussion with a genetic counselor occurs prior to the CVS. During this discussion, your pregnancy and family medical histories are reviewed, as are the specifics of the CVS procedure and the plans for reporting results. Any special concerns and options for decision making are explored. CVS is performed only after you have been fully informed and have consented to the procedure.

The CVS testing center may request certain information from your physician prior to performing the procedure. The information needed includes prior ultrasound reports, blood type, antibody screen (indirect Coombs test), gonorrhea and chlamydia cultures and other relevant clinical information.

During Chorionic Villus Sampling

CVS is performed as an outpatient procedure. It involves taking a small sample of the developing placenta using ultrasound guidance. It may be performed as either a vaginal or abdominal procedure. Vaginal procedures are performed using a flexible catheter through the cervical canal. Vaginal CVS procedures feel similar to having a pelvic examination with slightly more abdominal pressure. Abdominal procedures, on the other hand, involve using a very thin needle through the abdominal wall. Abdominal CVS feels similar to having an amniocentesis.

The perinatologist performing the CVS will determine the safest approach for your vaginal or abdominal CVS, depending on the position of the placenta. Once the sample is obtained, it is carefully cleansed and transported to the laboratory for the appropriate analysis.

During the CVS procedure, it is common to experience mild uterine cramping. This may be slightly uncomfortable, but it is usually not painful.

After Chorionic Villus Sampling

Following a CVS procedure, it is recommended that you refrain from strenuous physical activity, heavy lifting, sitting in water (such as a bath or pool) and sexual intercourse for approximately 24 to 48 hours. Additional recommendations include avoiding the insertion of anything vaginally, including tampons and suppositories, for 24 to 48 hours.

Make an Appointment for Chorionic Villus Sampling

To schedule an appointment, call 215-955-2112. For more information, call Jefferson's Genetic Counseling Office at 215-955-0408.