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CVS Test

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Pregnancy & Childbirth > Prenatal Testing > CVS Test


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2010 - 2013 Recommendations


Kaiser Oakland or SF for CVS testing?

Feb 2013

I am considering CVS testing and am a Kaiser patient in the East Bay area. I searched BPN for reviews but they all seem a bit dated and many of the perinatologists mentioned have since left Kaiser (including the highly recommended Dr. Mary Norton, who is now at Stanford). Specifically, I am looking to see if anyone has had any recent experience with Dr. David Walton (Oakland) or Dr. Anne Regenstein (SF) for CVS testing? Also, how was your overall experience with the procedure and would you do it again? Thanks in advance! 36 yr old expectant mom


I am not a Kaiser patient so can't comment on the two doctors you mention, but can speak to your second question about the CVS experience. I had a CVS with both of my pregnancies at ages 36 and 39 respectively. No doubt my experiences were influenced by the positive test results (meaning no problems with the fetus), but I wholeheartedly recommend it. I used SF Perinatal but imagine that most offices offer a similar experience: a meeting with a genetic counselor to help decide what conditions to test for, a meeting with the doctor who will perform the procedure, a nurse who preps you, and ultimately the procedure itself. The entire appointment took maybe 1.5 hours, and that included waiting times. I was fascinated and moved by seeing the real time ultrasound used by the doctor during the procedure. The doctor decides based on the baby's position in the uterus whether to go in vaginally or through your abdomen. Both times I had the abdominal procedure and there was minimal discomfort. As they advised, I then took it easy that evening but felt perfectly fine. I felt even better a week to 10 days later when I got my results. I did the test for peace of mind, and luckily got just that. I'm not sure how I would have reacted to finding out that there was a problem, but I do know that I would have wanted that news at 12 weeks rather than the 18+ week mark when you would an amnio. Another plus was that we wanted to know the sex so found out early on that we would be meeting a little girl at the end of each pregnancy. Finally, because CVS is done at the end of the first trimester, I was able to get good test results and felt more confident about telling the world (e.g. work colleagues) about the pregnancy. Happy with CVS
I have never had CVS done, but I had my amnio done by Dr. Walton last year. I was pregnant after intense infertility treatment, and got poor 1st trimester screening results, so I had a very high level of anxiety going into it. I couldn't have been happier. My husband is a physician as well, and he was impressed with Dr. Walton's precision with the needle (despite my inadvertent jump when he inserted it). It was over very quickly. I had some mild cramping for the next couple of days, but no bleeding or leaking of amniotic fluid. The results came back normal, and I'm really glad I did the procedure. It put my mind at ease for the rest of my pregnancy. My son was born term and healthy! I think the most important thing is that the provider does a LOT of the procedure. I know Dr. Walton does a lot of amnios--ask whether he also does a lot of CVS. I'm guessing he does. Best of luck to you. fan of Dr. Walton
I had the CVS test done about a year and a half ago at Kaiser Oakland. I spent hours searching websites for information on CVS and also found outdated info on BPN. I was very nervous before the test (ahh, the dangers of reading horror stories on line) but I was very pleased with the Kaiser Oakland staff and the procedure. The doctor did an ultrasound and found that the placenta could be accessed vaginally. The test felt like a pap smear--quick and painless. My response after the test was ''That's it?''. The difficult part of CVS was the 10-12 day wait for the results! It was a nice bonus to find out the gender of my child with my results (optional). I highly recommend Kaiser oakland for CVS testing. -good luck!
we had cvs at Kaiser Oakland in December. The doctor who performed the procedure was Mara Greenberg. The procedure went fine. I thought the staff (nurse, geneticist, ultrasound tech, and doctor) all explained the procedure and what was going on and were considerate and concerned with my needs and well being. The ultrasound tech, Connie, especially was excellent. good luck!
I was almost 35 when I had my CVS done last April (2012), and the fetus was 10 weeks old. Connie, the CVS tech at Oakland Kaiser, was amazing. She is one of those people I will remember even years later for being so damn good at her job. (Ollie, the ultrasound tech for the high resolution ultrasound later, was also very impressive). I saw a male doctor, but I don't know his name. Connie said, ''if I were getting a CVS, he's the one I'd want. He's the best we have here.''

I bring this up because my CVS experience was very uncomfortable (so even being seen by the ''best [they] have'' was difficult). My cervix is an odd shape, and it took a lot of work to get my CVS sample (vaginally). It took three tries: five minutes of trying to thread the catheter in before they stopped, had me get out of the stirrups and go pee (apparently my bladder was too full, even though they had emphasized how much I needed to drink ahead of time), tried again, stopped and had me get out of the stirrups again, had me go pee even more (only peeing half your bladder is really challenging, too!), and then tried a third time. It took a full ten minutes the third time to get the sample. This usually literally only takes 3-5 minutes for most people. It was very uncomfortable, but not painful. A friend of mine had cramping painful enough that she took the next day off work, but my cramping was very minimal. It lasted only a few hours, and was like a slightly painful period.

That said, I would do it again. It gave me a real piece of mind to know that my baby did not have the conditions the CVS tests for. It made me feel more connected to him to know his sex, too. I think one good thing to ask yourself, though, is whether you need the test at all: would knowing you have a special needs baby help you prepare yourself for it, or are you willing to terminate the pregnancy if you got bad results? If neither of those things are true, then the CVS (or an amnio) is an invasive and perhaps unhelpful procedure. -Mama of a healthy 9-week-old, happy she did it, would do it again


CVS at Kaiser

June 2011

I'm looking for recent recommendations for a doctor for a CVS at Kaiser (most of the recommendations in the archives are for a doctor who is no longer at Kaiser). They don't seem to do it very often in Oakland so I'd be going to San Jose or San Francisco. Thanks!


I had a CVS done at Kaiser Oakland in April 2011 by Dr. David Walton, and he was fantastic. The procedure itself was uncomfortable, but there's no getting around that--and he and his staff were very professional and caring. He also has a 0% miscarriage rate after CVS--as in, he has NEVER had a patient miscarry afterward. I think he's one of the MDs who pioneered the procedure, and he's very talented.

I think he might only work with extremely high-risk patients, though--so if you can't get in to see him, I'd ask his assistant (Clarice) who she would recommend that you see instead.

I hope this helps! satisfied Kaiser member


I had a CVS done at Kaiser Oakland in June 2009 by Dr. Mary Norton. My understanding at the time was that she was ''stolen'' from UCSF by Kaiser because she was so experienced at CVS. She also came highly recommended by a friend who is a physician at Kaiser. She has 2 more years of experience now! Good luck. Maggie

CVS at at East Bay Perinatal with Dr. Weiss

Jan 2010

I am having a CVS test performed in 2 weeks at East Bay Perinatal Medical with DR. Weiss. So far I have not read anything negative about him or the practice, but the postings are a little old, so am looking for updated comments. My doctor wanted to get me in UCSF as she said they are better at CVS but they are out of network. My authorization did not go through, but she said they would approve of me going to California Pacific Medical Center to see Dr. Main instead. I am unsure why my doctor and nurse both said they would rather me go to UCSF. Is it the risk of miscarriage or they are better at reading the results? I will be asking them this on Monday at an appointment. Any recent experiences with Dr. Weiss or Dr. Main? Good or Bad? I think I am worrying too much. Diane


I've had two amnios with Dr Weiss and thought he was good. If you are concerned about complications I'd ask East Bay Perinatal how many CVSes he performs a year and what his complication rate is. His amnio rate was low. Also ask what they consider a complication. You could call UCSF and ask them and compare. Often people advise to go somewhere where they do a lot of them to get someone who is more experienced. Good Luck. anon
I had an amnio by Dr. Weiss last June, and it went flawlessly. I was really nervous. The nurse told me he's been doing amnios since the mid-80s, so literally has performed thousands, which put me at ease when I got there. He was nice, professional and quick. I really recommend him. I also had a good experience at EB Perinatal generally - the nurse who performed the ultrasound was terrific and thorough, and the woman who called me back with the results was very kind and warm. However, I would be careful getting too involved with Genzeme, the genetic counseling company they use. They dragged us into an abyss of anxiety - we had trouble getting straight and thorough answers out of them, and went much farther down a path of testing with them then was really rational (I turned out to be a carrier of one of the Ashkenazi Jewish diseases). Be careful, and ask lots of questions. kk
i didn't have a cvs, but dr weiss was my doc for my amnio, and everything went fine. he was very nice and easy to chat with. congrats, good luck. and enjoy life! kim
I got my CVS done at SF Perninatal with Dr Goldberg who's associated with UCSF. He's supposed to be ''the guy'' to go to in this areas since he's been doing CVS for about twenty years. Luckily, my health insurance covers them and when I was trying to decide where to go, my RN and OBGYN both said that Dr Goldberg has been doing them forever and is great but that East Bay Perinatal is fine too. I was really nervous about the CVS so for me, it was important to go to the place where the person was an expert in the field. But basically what my RN said put me at ease: you want to go somewhere they do them a lot, which both qualify for.

My experience at SF Perinatal (http://www.sfperinatal.com/) was really good. They are caring (I felt faint during both ultrasounds and they took good care of me), professional, have 3-D imaging equipment as part of the their usual ultrasounds and send you home with pictures on a CD, which is a nice perk. The genetic counselors are also really good.

Best of luck to you! Robin


I don't have direct experience with East Bay Perinatal, but I thought I'd share my research results. I live in San Leandro, but I ended up choosing UCSF over East Bay Perinatal for my amniocentesis. You mention that you hadn't seen any negative reviews for Doctor Wolfe or the EBPMA, but I found one when I Googled ''yelp east bay perinatal fremont.'' While the reviewer might be biased because she had a bad experience, my decision was that I should assume that I might have a less-than-optimal outcome, and wanted a place I felt comfortable. (I'd initially had to go to UCSF because I messed up my timing for the NT scan and UCSF was the only place available. I felt so safe and at-ease in their offices, so I wanted them to be in charge of something invasive like amnio.) I hope others can speak to the CPMC experience for you. Niki

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


CVS at UCSF

March 2009

Can someone tell me which UCSF perinatalogists are excellent at CVS? I need to make an appointment soon and I want to feel like I am in the hands of a very skilled person. For insurance reasons, I cannot see Dr. Otto or Dr. Goldberg. Pregnant and 40


I had my CVS with Mary Norton at UCSF. It was a great experience and I felt like I was in excellent hands. Good luck!
Hi, I need to get a CVS done secondary to a genetic condition that I carry. In my previous pregnancy I had my CVS done by Dr. Mary Norton UCSF, but she is now at Kaiser, so I need a new recommendation. I currently have 2 appointments scheduled...one with Dr. Jeffrey Traynor in the east bay and another one scheduled with Dr. Larry Rand at UCSF? Anyone have any experience with either or these two Dr's? I know I have heard great things about Dr. Goldberg, but he doesn't take my insurance. Thanks!
I had Mary Norton for my amnio with my first child and I was really bummed that she left for Kaiser. I had my CVS with Dr. Rand and he was super. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but he was quick and very professional. He also made me feel very comfortable and had a great bedside manner. I would highly recommend him. Best wishes with your pregnancy. anon

CVS Test at Kaiser Oakland

Dec 2008

Have you had CVS at Kaiser Oakland in the last few years? What was your experience and who was your doctor? Can you offer a recommendation for a specific doctor at that facility? Looking for the most experienced/succesful with CVS, of course. I had an amnio at Kaiser Oakland in 2006 and it went well, but felt I was choosing the doctor almost blindly. And I'm a little more scared of CVS. thanks for the input, CVS bound


From what I was led to believe this past August, they do not offer CVS testing at the Oakland facility. You need to go to San Francisco or Santa Clara. I ended up at Santa Clara because I wanted to test as early as I could and all appointments in SF were booked until it was the very end of the testing window. I was freaked... knowing nothing about the Santa Clara facility and its doctors. My experience was fabulous. The ultrasound nurse was so welcoming and informative; she put me right at ease. Dr. Dyson is who I believe does the procedure. He was so professional and personable. A true expert. I had no complications from the procedure and received my results 2 weeks and one day after the test was performed. All clear. If you want to talk about it at all, feel free to email me. I am happy to try to put your fears and anxieties to rest! another old mom
I actually had my CVS at Kaiser SF not Oakland, but wanted to respond as I believe that as a Kaiser member you can indeed go to a different Kaiser. I had a VERY good experience at Kaiser SF. Dr. Robin Field preformed the procedure - he was very pleasant, upbeat & reassuring. The procedure was observed by Dr. Mary Norton who was previously at UCSF and very highly recommended to me as a CVS doctor. I believe she now works at Kaiser SF and also does the CVS procedure there. Anyway, I felt very good about my experience at Kaiser SF - the genetics people were very helpful also. Good luck w/your CVS & your pregnancy!!!! Marci
I had CVS done at Kaiser about 9 1/2 years ago because I needed results earlier than amnio would give me. I drove to Santa Teresa Kaiser (San Jose). Although I do not remember the name of the doctor, I remember that he was middle aged, white and taught the procedure at Stanford. I will say that he had to go in several times to get enough tissue without getting too much. I did have discomfort, but no pain and if I were lucky enough to find myself pregnant again, I would choose CVS again in a heartbeat. I did not drive myself. I remember being a little dizzy afterward. CVS Fan
I have heard that the person doing CVS at Oakland now is Dr. Mary Norton. I have not had one by her, but the BPN reviews of her are quite good. She was at UCSF before coming to Kaiser, and it sounds like she has a lot of experience. Hope this helps. anon
Hi, As of 3 years ago, when I had my CVS, they sent us to the Santa Clara facility as Kaiser Oakland wasn't doing it and San Francisco didn't have openings for my window of opportunity. The OB who performed our CVS was not only an Attending, he was the head of Obstetrics for all Kaiser Northern California and had multiple academic papers out on the use of CVS. I'm sorry I don't remember his name, but with that information you probably could find out who he was. He wasn't exactly a cry-on-my-shoulder kind of doctor; he reminded me more of a surgeon with that radiating absolute competence. Since I find that reassuring in that kind of situation, it was a GOOD thing.

With CVS, you Definitely need to know this information as they track complication rates not only by facility but by doctor. Make sure the doc is NOT a resident. Talk with your primary OB again about who they would have do a CVS on themselves. Davey's Mummy


When I did CVS through Oakland Kaiser genetics earlier this year, you had to go elsewhere for the test, though they were talking about starting CVS in Oakland soon.

Your genetics counselor (I absolutely loved working with Rushina Patel, but everyone I encountered in Kaiser genetics was fabulous) can tell you more, including MDs' CVS ''numbers,'' which might help with your choice. With only a few KP MDs in the Bay Area doing CVS, you don't always have a lot of choice but you know they are experienced.

Dr. Mary Norton is a hotshot from UCSF, relatively recently arrived at KP, with excellent CVS numbers and reputation. I believe she may be coming to Oakland or you can go to SF. There is info on her elsewhere on BPN.

I went to Santa Clara and saw Dr. Dyson, head of perinatology I believe, and felt very confident. Plus it's a beautiful new facility, very calm with excellent staff.

At least in June, Robin Field in SF was the third KP CVS MD. --very happy with Kaiser genetics testing


I just had a CVS at Kaiser Oakland and it went really well with Dr. Norton. There was quite a bit of supportive clinical staff in the room. I had no medical side effects other than a little cramping later that evening. I was back into full swing the next day. I also had the procedure at Stanford 2 years ago and all went well. I'm was VERY particular about who did it both times. It was less painful with Dr. Norton (maybe I got lucky)than my experience at Stanford. I was quite impressed with Kaiser (and I'm picky). Good luck! anonymous

Anyone had CVS w/ Dr. Thomas Musci?

Sept 2008

I'm considering having CVS done given my age and was wondering if anyone had had this procedure performed by Dr. Musci. My insurance covers Dr. Weiss, but I have read very mixed reviews and therefore was looking at doctors with lower rates of miscarriage. Dr. Goldberg was my first choice, but he will be on vacation during the window when I would need to have CVS performed. Because Dr. Musci trained with Dr. Goldberg, it seemed like he might be a good alternative, but there is only one brief mention of him in the BPN archives. Thanks ahead of time for your feedback!


I recently had a CVS with Dr. Musci this past July. I, too, was initially apprehensive about the procedure, but have nothing but positive things to say about the experience. The facilities are very nice and they really take good care of you. Dr. Musci was warm, kind, and informative with the whole process and explained everything he was doing as he proceeded. The ultrasound technician was fantastic too, and they worked well together. I really felt in good hands the entire time. He seemed very skilled and experienced, which put me at ease. In the end, I was very happy I made the decision to go forward with a CVS with him. happy soon-to-be mom
I've seen just about every doctor at SF Perinatal at one time or another, including Dr. Goldberg and Dr. Musci. I've always had great experiences with the doctors, even when the procedures themselves were distressing. All the doctors I've seen were incredibly compassionate. Dr. Goldberg actually did my CVS this last time, but I would trust Dr. Musci to do it. Good luck. Sarah
June 2008

Re: CVS - Recommendations?
Hi - Congratulations on your pregnancy! I was in the same situation as you, and I did a lot of research on the CVS procedure (even against my midwife's recommendations). I learned that the risks involved are due mainly to the experience of the doctor. And, I learned that we have one of the best pre-natal physicians specializing in CVS in the whole country here in San Francisco! Dr. James Goldberg of SF Perinatal. Though there isn't enough data to support this officially, they say that their CVS miscarriage rate is about the same as amnio. I had a very easy, absolutely no problem CVS there in February, and the experience overall was just wonderful. The office staff members were friendly enough, the genetic counselor was thorough, the ultrasound technician was skillful and sweet and gave us a CD of the baby, and Dr. Goldberg himself was a gem -- affable, supportive, he talked me through the whole procedure, it was entirely painless, I could watch the whole thing on the screen ! above my bed, he explained everything to my husband who asked detailed technical questions, and they called me a week later with, thankfully, positive results. I would recommend them absolutely. I actually had to go in twice -- the first time at 10 weeks the baby wasn't in a safe enough position to do the procedure, so I went back at 11 weeks.

One thing I didn't expect was just how crampy I'd feel after the procedure. I was so glad my husband accompanied me -- I needed his support walking out of the building, I put my car seat back and slept on the way back to Berkeley, and when we got home I brought books and laptop into my bed and stayed there the entire rest of the day. They recommended 2 hours resting but I rested about 10 hours! I didn't want to take any chances. Now I'm 5 months pregnant and continue to be amazed at the wonder of it all! I would definitely go with them again. (415) 202-1200 www.sfperinatal.com VERY happy with Dr. Goldberg


I had CVS with my second pregnancy (I was 37) at CPMC with Dr. Carl Otto and was very happy with the entire procedure. He was very kind and straightforward and helped me relax about the whole thing!

FWIW, I had another prenatal test (ultrasound) with Dr. Jim Goldberg at his new clinic (he used to be CPMC). He is also very experienced and popular for CVS. While he was fantastic and informative and also very kind, I was less than impressed with his support staff, who were all somewhat impatient and unfriendly.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! anon


I didn't see the original post, but I would echo the recommendations for Dr. Goldberg at SF Perinatal. I just had the procedure done with him two weeks ago and I would not have considered anyone else. Based on the conversations I had with my obstetrician, the SF Perinatal Genetic Counselor and Dr. Goldberg, I felt confident that the risks were greatly decreased because of his professional experience. I still have 5 more months to go, but we were pleased with the results and now that I’m through the first trimester my worries about any complications are decreasing. I would also recommend having someone with you during and after the procedure. I have a toddler so I enlisted some additional help afterwards (you’re not supposed to lift anything over 15 lbs for a few days). I made sure to lighten my work and exercise schedule as well for a week. Wishing you all the best. anon

Should I change my insurance for CVS?

March 2008

I am 43 and pregnant with my 2nd baby. I have insurance through Hill Physicians medical group and wanted to get CVS this time around. I would prefer to get it as early as possible in case there are any chromosomal abnormalities and have heard that Dr. Goldberg in SF is excellent and they do it at 10 weeks vs. Dr. Weiss who does it starting at 11 1/2 weeks and doesn't do them as often. Is there anyone who has advice re: should I change my medical group for a month to Brown and Toland so I can get CVS through Dr. Goldberg (I would have to get an OB in SF as well-I live in Oakland). Would I be able to switch back? Is that totally obnoxious for the OB whom I would sign up with to start with them and change after a month? Or, is there a way to get a referral to pay out of network costs (through Hill) as opposed to paying totally out of pocket (they said it would be about $1600, which is a lot for me). Anyone been in this situation before? I could always wait the extra 1.5 weeks and see Dr. Weiss, but I would rather see Dr. Goldberg if it is possible, even if I have to pay some extra (but $1600 is too much extra). Thanks


I know that Dr. Weiss has some mixed reviews on BPN, but I just had CVS with him last week and he was absolutely fine in every regard. He answered all my questions, measured the nuchal fold when I asked him to (that's not part of the normal CVS ultrasound), made a few doctorly jokes and performed a completely painless CVS on me. I paid extra for the FISH results and they told me I'd get them today (Monday) but instead I received a call on Friday at 4:57 pm telling me all was well. Talk about underpromising and overdelivering. I'd recommend Dr. Weiss and East Bay Perinatal to anyone seeking CVS.

As for switching medical groups, that sounds like a royal pain to me. Not only do you have to find a new OB-GYN taking new patients, you also have to find a primary care provider taking new patients. Then, when you're ready to switch back you have to hope that both your old PCP and OB-GYN will take you back (they may not be taking new patients either). Plus, HMOs being what they are, I'd be worried that something might slip through the cracks and you'd show up for your Level II ultrasound only to find out you don't have coverage with that particular medical group.

One last thing--I too, was worried about waiting until 11.5 weeks for CVS, because I thought for sure I'd be showing long before I got the results back, but here I am at 12.5 weeks and I don't think anyone can tell (and this is baby #3!).

Good luck and try not to worry too much...I know it's hard. anon


I have had CVS three times with Goldberg and no complications ever. Last one at age 42. I would also pay for FISH results - about $250 - and you hear back in about 48 hours. I think it is worth it if you can change easily and then change back. I am guessing you would not even need to see your new'' ob -I mean, at that stage in pregnancy you only go in once a month or so. If you have any complications from CVS you'd see Goldberg. Your current doc can write a ''perscription'' for goldberg if needed - or you can just take the referral you current ob writes to goldberg. Good luck. been there
I can't answer any of your questions about insurance, but I just wanted to say that I saw Dr. Goldberg for a CVS the other day and I thought he was amazing. We almost had to pay $900 because I thought he was out of network, but even though I found out I was wrong we were willing to pay it because he is one of the best pre-natal and CVS physicians in the entire country. I never felt anxious before the procedure, and I felt completely safe in his hands. The office was also really terrific -- every staff member we talked to was friendly and helpful, and the genetic counselor and ultrasound technicians were exceptionally competent as well. Worth it for me to be worry-free

Dr. Mary Norton has moved to Kaiser SF

Oct 2007

After reading all the glowing reviews for Dr. Mary Norton for CVS prenatal diagnostic testing, I contacted UCSF to schedule an appointment with her. Unfortunately, in the middle of 2007 Dr. Norton moved to Kaiser Permanente in SF, and can *only* attend to Kaiser member patients. The number there is 415-833-2200. http://www.permanente.net/homepage/doctor/marynorton/


CVS Costs

September 2007

I'm trying to get a sense of how much my share of the cost of a CVS procedure will cost and thought I'd tap the collective wisdom of this group. If anyone is covered by Blue Cross PPO and has recently used a preferred provider for CVS, could you tell me what the Amount Billed and Member Savings was on your Explanation of Benefits Statement? I know the insurance will pay 80% of the maximum allowable cost because I'm going to a preferred provider. The problem is that they won't tell me what that maximum allowable cost is without jumping through hoops (filling out a paper form and waiting two weeks for a response when my CVS is scheduled for the end of next week). Argh. Anon


My son will be 3 in December, and I had a CVS when I was about 10 weeks pregnant. I had (still have) Blue Cross, but I didn't go to a preferred provider, if I recall correctly. So my share was rather high, about $900. I had my CVS done at California Pacific, and I recommend them highly. If I had done the CVS in the East Bay, then maybe I would have had to pay less, but my doctor really recommended having a CVS in San Francisco, saying that the doctors at both California Pacific and UCSF had more experience, and a lower miscarriage rate, than the doctor in the East Bay. Lori
Sept 2007

Re: CVS at UCSF?
I'd consider going to Dr Goldberg - he is now in practice at SF Perinatal. I have had CVS twice with him & his bedside manner, compassion (after getting bad news), and skill make him a great choice. I don't know anything about his new practice (other than they seem to take alot of insurance plans), other than he is part of it. good luck


May 2007

Re: 6 weeks pregnant and want to get CVS testing
I would go to Dr. Goldberg at SF Perinatal. Dr. Goldberg headed the CVS testing at CPMC for many years, and left to start SF Perinatal about a year or so ago, along with several of the other top CPMC perinatologists (e.g. Dr. Katz). That is where my OB practice refers everyone. I had a CVS done there by him in November, after having several miscarriages. Their miscarriage rate is much lower than ''average'' stats, and Dr. Goldberg was very calming and professional (I was terrified, but it didn't hurt at all, although I couldn't watch). Good luck! happy SF Perinatal patient


Dr. Robin Fields of Kaiser in SF

January 2007

Hi all, I have my first CVS appointment on Tuesday, March 20th with Dr. Robin Fields of Kaiser in SF. I haven't found much online about Dr. Fields, so would love to know what your experience has been if you have had him for CVS. Any insight would be appreciated! Best, Juliet


I had a CVS with Dr. Fields in late 2004. Nothing about the procedure stood out and I remember him being pretty outgoing and explaining what was going on. (I went by myself without my husband). He does a lot of these (according to my Kaiser OB, a the time he was the ''one'' that does CVS in the Bay Area) and it shows. The worst part frankly was waiting for the procedure in the waiting room with a full bladder as they were way behind on the appointments (when I finally got in the room they let me empty a bit). My advice would be to schedule it in the morning, if possible. Healthy Child after CVS
I had a CVS performed by Robin Fields of Kaiser-SF in late December. This is my second pregnancy, and for the 1st I didn't have any invasive testing, so I was incredibly nervous and did a lot of research. I felt much better knowing that Fields has been doing CVS procedures for 15 years, and does them only once a week, but he had several others that same day. Plus he is known (according to my genetic counselor at Kaiser) to be more conservative (in terms of not going in for a second attempt if they didn't get enough sample) than the San Jose Kaiser doc. I found his manner calm and reassuring, and I am very happy that I had the procedure done rather than waiting for an amnio. It was hard deciding since it seemed like everything I read favored amnios, but finding out early, for me had several advantages. I found it stressful driving into the city by myself, and having to have a full bladder, but I was very pleased with Fields and the Kaiser SF staff there. Good luck! anon

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Dr. Mary Norton

November 2006

I went to Mary Norton last year for my CVS. She was wonderful - extremely competent, and she also had a wonderful bedside manner. I was nervous before the procedure, and she was very soothing and kind. Actually, I have to say that out of all the drs I saw during my pregnancy, including my regular OB, she was by far my favorite. I really cannot recommend her highly enough. She is definitely worth asking for a referral! anon


Dr. Mary Norton at UCSF

August 2006

hi. i'm 40 and pregnant. my ob is recommending Dr. Mary Norton at USF for a CVS. i'd be grateful to hear about any experiences anyone has with her. i've had an amnio before but am very nervous about having CVS. also, what are the most current statistics on miscarriage rates from CVS? thanks so much
anon


Mary Norton (at UCSF, not USF) is the BEST, and I work in the field. She is the most experienced and knowledgeable clinician for this procedure in the Bay Area. I had a CVS with her about 6 months ago and all my friends/colleagues who are OBs go to her. Her miscarriage rate is less than 1 in 400 NP
I had a CVS with Mary Norton in June 2004. She was a clear first choice from my OB GYN and I followed that advice. Mary was absolutely excellent and extremely professional. The office was great - highly organized, good bedside manner, professinal and knowledgeable. I would go back to her (and only her) in a heartbeat. Check her rates, but my understanding was that UCSF's rates of miscarriage post CVS are exactly equal to the miscarriage rate vs. amnio (you generally see a higher rate). That is probably due to Mary's vast experience tania
I've had cvs twice with Dr. Goldberg at cpmc. No complications other than bad news. Good friend has had cvs twice with Dr. Norton & also had no complications. Having had both cvs & amnio, I prefer cvs. (I was crampy for a week after amnio but sore for a few days after trans-abdominal cvs. Trans-cervical is like a pap smear but with a full bladder. Full bladder part is the worst of it.) Getting bad news at 12 or 13 weeks is very different than getting it at 17 or 18 weeks (been there). Miscarriage rates are debated for CVS as a percentage of pregnancies at 10/11 weeks would miscarry on their own. For faster results you can request FISH analysis - takes about 2 days. good luck
Dr. Norton is probably the best physician in the Bay area to do your CVS. She is the director of UCSF's Prenatal Diagnostic Center and I believe she is board certified in both obstetrics/gynecology as well as radiology. The miscarriage rate associated with CVS is generally quoted as around 2%, but is far less than 1% at UCSF. I would also highly recommend Sarah, her genetic counselor, if you're given the option. I'm a physician myself and kept my UCSF health coverage specifically so that I could have Dr. Norton perform CVS for me during 2 different pregnancies. Best of luck. jeanne
I had my CVS done with dr. norton last year after a miscarrarriage. I was forty-one and scared that something would go wrong. In addition I was plagued with morning sickness during that time. Dr. Norton heard my concerns with the procedure and was very reassuring. So was the staff - even after I threw up on the exam table right before the procedure. Dr. Norton was quick - the acutal procedure took about a minute or two tops. The drinking the water and waiting took longer. I did have some discomfort afterwards and stayed off my feet for a day or two. When I got the call that everything was ok I was very relieved. I have a beautiful nine month old today.

Good Luck judy


Dr. Mary Norton

December 2005

I only know Goldberg by reputation (which is stellar, as you know), but I did have an amnio with Dr. Norton. I really liked her, thought she was very personable and skilled. Her true specialty, though, is CVS. She does many, many of them, and she is the head of the Genetic Testing dept. at UCSF, so she is one of the best. Her office should be able to tell you her miscarriage rate (as you probably know it is the provider- specific rate that you want vs. the rate generally associated with the procedure). Good luck.


I am an ob/gyn NP and have many friends who are obstetricians, and we all went to Mary Norton for our CVS's/amnios and wouldn't consider going to anyone else. I had a CVS 6 weeks ago w/her, and her miscarriage rate is less than a quarter of one percent. I would definitely keep your appointment with her. She is wonderful. Debbie
I had a CVS with Dr. Norton in February 2005. I recommend her highly. You could always call her office and ask her complication rate, which I did when choosing her: she's the head of the UCSF Prenatal Diagnosis Center and does 25 CVS procedures per *week* with a complication rate of 1/200 (better than the national average). Plus she and her staff were kind and competent. Lucky to have a healthy son

40 and really nervous about CVS

August 2005

Has anyone had a CVS done recently at UCSF? I'm having mine done in a few weeks and I'm really nervous. I'll be about 12 1/2 weeks when I have the test. I'm going to be 40 when I deliver this baby, so I want to do prenatal testing, but I've heard good and scary things about the procedure. I would love to hear about people's experiences at UCSF! Thanks! Anonymous


Your post brought back a lot of memories. My husband and I struggled with the amnio and CVS decision when I was pregnant with our daughter a couple of years ago. We went through genetic counseling at UCSF because my fertility doctor suggested it. He thought it would be a good idea because I was 41 years old. The doctors and staff were fine but I found the whole thing to be pretty upsetting. I was finally pregnant and here were all these people looking for trouble! : )

After a lot of reading and soul searching I decided I could not do anything that might put the pregnancy at risk. I chose to not do either the amnio or the CVS. Instead I decided that the nuchal translucency screening would provide me with enough information. The NT is an ultrasound similar to those at regular prenatal exams only it is longer and more detailed. It is done between 11 and 14 weeks. I believe they do measurements of the neck that might indicate a higher risk for Downs syndrome. I believe they look for other abnormalities as well. So far it appears that the NT screening poses no risk to the fetus. Some women do the NT screening first and then decide whether or not to do the amnio or CVS based on the NT results.

I understand your worries about having a baby later in life and you need to do whatever you feel is best. In addition to finding out as much as you can about the procedure itself I would also think about why you want to do the CVS and what you are going to do if the result indicates a problem. Is there a family history of serious birth defects or Downs syndrome? Has your OB given you reason to believe the pregnancy isn't going well? Will you terminate the pregnancy if the test results tell you your baby might have something wrong? For me the answer was no to all three questions - so what was the point? I think there should be a really good reason for undergoing an invasive procedure that puts the pregnancy at risk. I don't care if the risk is only 1% or 3% or whatever. I don't feel being 40 years old is a good enough reason by itself.

Don't get me wrong - I appreciate all that modern medicine has to offer and I have no complaints about UCSF. I chose a hospital birth with epidural without hesitation. But I think that at times modern medicine interferes unecessarily. Might that be the case with you? You don't mention any other concern about the pregnancy other than your age. You have good reason to be nervous. Listen to that voice inside you that is questioning this. Don't let doctors or anyone else talk you into something you might not want or need.

Best wishes, good luck, and congratulations from - another mom of advanced maternal age


i had a cvs done at ucsf when i was pregnant with my first 4 years ago. i believe i was 10 weeks pregnant. i went to great lengths to get my insurance to cover the procedure there (which initially they were not going to do) because i had heard that at that time thery were the best and did the highest number of cvs testing. when i had the procedure they had a very difficult time getting what they needed because my placenta was in the way (but not in any sort of risky/pregnancy complication place.) they did try, which was very painful. unfortunately, they had to stop without getting the sample they needed. i had to act as if i had the test done and take it easy for the next few days. when i went back a week later i was very nervous that they wouldn't be able to do the procedure and it would be another painful experience for nothing. this time they had the head of the department perform the procedure and it went very smoothly - no pain at all. this is what most women experience, but i wanted to let you know of my unusual situation. of course it was all worth it because we had a healthy baby girl. feel free to contact me directly if you'd like. best of luck. emily


CVS at Kaiser Oakland

October 2004

I am considering whether to have a CVS test done and the posts in the Advice section seem to be dated and focused on doctors outside the Kaiser system. I am a Kaiser Oakland patient and over-35. I would like to know whether anyone has had a CVS done recently through Kaiser Oakland and what was their experience. Specifically, how did you set up the test (e.g., did you talk to your OB about it and get referred to someone else), how long did the results take, and were you happy with the test. Since Kaiser is such a bureaucracy, some advice on navigating through this system would be helpful. Expecting


My CVS was in January 2003 at California Pacific in S.F. with Dr. Jim Goldberg. He is considered the best in the Bay Area and is a pioneer in the field of CVS--I had three miscarriages before this pregnancy and my OB said she wouldn't send me (or any of her patients) to anyone else. His miscarriage rate is less than 1%. I was very nervous about the procedure, but he had a reassuring bedside manner and it went remarkably quickly. It barey hurt--just for a second. By the time my brain registered the discomfort of the needle entry (I had it through the stomach) the pain was already over.

You need to find out how long your doctor has been doing CVS and what his/her personal rate of miscarriage is. But if it's possible for you, I would seriously consider doing it with Goldberg. And call for an appointment immediately--I called as soon as I knew I was pregnant.

Finally, a question: How old are you? I was 41 when I was pregnant and even then the chances are only 3% that a baby would have, say, Down Syndrome. CVS isn't generally considered for women under 38 or 39. If you're concerned about Down Syndrome, you can get a nuchal fold screening which is entirely non- invasive and pretty accurate. Also, CVS doesn't screen for tubal defects--you'll have to get a blood test later for those. If you have a specific risk for chromosomal abnormality, however, CVS is a good choice, especially if you know you would terminate. Finding out about the chromosomes so early in the pregnancy was a relief. And waiting for amnio if you're at high risk can be traumatic since you're generally feeling life by then. Good luck and congratulations. Becoming a Mom at this age is amazing. Happy Old Lady Mom


I'm 39 and I just had a CVS test throught Kaiser Oakland, and I recommend with without reservations. I think my doctor made the referral to the Genetics department, then someone called me and sceduled it for me. If you have questions about the test, procedures or risks, I would call the Oakland Genetics Dept. they are really helpful and will explain things better and with more patience than the Obg's seem to. They only do the procedure at the SF and San Jose Kaiser facilities, which means that those doctors have a lot of expereince with them. My test was done like an amniocentesis, with a neddle thru your belly, but depending on where the placenta is attached they may do it vaginally. You won't know until the day of the procedure how yours will be done. You have to have the test done between 10- 12 weeks and the doctor will confirm the date before he does the test, you may be denied the test if you are not in the correct weeks of pregnancy. The procedure itself took very little time, but it is not very pleasant, since you have a large neddle in you, but when it's over, you should feel fine. (unless you are like me and wanted to pass out because you hate neddles..) You will get results back in 2 weeks, just like an amnio. I'm realy glad I did the test, because you have results about 1.5 months before you would with an amnio. My understanding is that this test is done ''all the time'' in SF, but we in the East Bay tend to do more amnio's - but who knows if that is true. Good luck. thumbtak

Trisomy 8 Mosaicism result from CVS

Feb 2004

Has anyone had this diagnosis resulting from a CVS? Did you go on to do BOTH an amnio and a PUBS test? What was/were the outcome of the tests, and what was the outcome with the baby? We'd appreciate any advice, consolation of comfort that anyone can offer. The doctors seem to have limited info.


My baby had this result on amnio, and at 2 years old she has absolutely no sign of any problems. None. In fact she is very advanced in a lot of the developmental skills. (n.b. I did not have CVS).

I can completely relate to how nervewracking this is for you, and I would recommend doing whatever it takes to help ease your mind. I had my amnio done at CPMC, and the genetic counselor there told me that the main issue with this kind of result is that they are worried about heart problems. So I did a ''level 3''(?) ultrasound at 22 weeks to ensure that there were no visible heart defects, and that was very reassuring for me. At that time the doctor told me not to worry, and that the result was probably ''an artifact'' (possibly meaning that the sample was contaminated, or that the mutation occurred in the lab). He also told me that ''lots of babies with this result grow up to be college professors''. The odds are with you!


Dear Anon, your message brings back painful memories of my second pregnancy, but the short result is that our son was born perfectly healthy... we just had to live through some very anxious months to get there. Our amnio came back with trisomy 8 psuedo-mosaicism: only a very few cells had the abnormality. I was terrified and insisted on doing all of the testing available: a second ultrasound, a second amnio and a PUBS test. I think I would do the same again except that I would not do the PUBS. At the time I had it (Dec. 1999) it still seemed very experimental and not well controlled. The doctors spent ages trying to decide where to insert the needle so it would hit the cord. If I had realized that the test was that difficult to perform, I wouldn't have gone through with it. As it happened, in our case, the trisomy seems to have been an artifact introduced perhaps from the placenta during the initial amnio.

I'm sending you lots of good thoughts for a thorough process with results as definitive as they can make them. We had excellent care through the Alta Bates network for all of this. When it was all over, I went out and got myself a midwife so I could experience the less technological aspect of my pregnancy. Take care and feel free to send me e-mail if you want a shoulder. Heather


I am very sorry about your diagnosis. I have not had that issue but have dealt with a different chromosonal problem diagnosed by CVS. I found talking with a variety of genetics counselors to be helpful. Not sure what your time frame is but basic karotyping on you and the baby's father can be done in a week or two. Please email me if you would like more information. I would also highly reccomend the doctor I went through this with. Take Care

2003 & Earlier


April 2002

Re: Doctors who do CVS

I have been told by two MDs (one reproductive endocrinologist, one maternal-fetal medicine specialist, i.e. high risk OB) that Dr. Jim Goldberg is the best in the Bay Area for CVS. He works through California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and it's worth the trip over the bay in my opinion. Of course, it depends on if your insurance covers him.

We did CVS for our twins at 12 weeks with Dr. Goldberg, and it was a very professional and pleasant experience (as pleasant as it can be when they stick a long needle into your abdomen twice.) We received our results 1 week later. I also thought the genetic counselors there were quite good. Lisa


I went to Jim Goldberg in SF at California Pacific. Dr. Goldberg is one of the CVS pioneers and is considered the best in the Bay Area. If I were you I'd go to him. He's done two for me.
I wanted to add my endorsement of Dr. Goldberg at Cal Pacific. He did our CVS for the baby I just had in December and he was wonderful. His complication rate is well below the national average and he has done thousands of these procedures. He is extremely professional and a very nice person. He was a resident in New York under my prior OB/GYN back there so that gave me a little bit of extra confidence in him. My NY OB was the best doctor I have ever had. I was extremely nervous about anything going wrong and having Dr. Goldberg really helped to allay those fears. I would not go to someone who only does a few of these a month. I would want someone who does it all the time. Shannon

What was your experience with the CVS test?

July 2000

I would like to hear from people who have had the CVS Test. I am told good things about it since you can take it early in the pregnancy, but at the same time, I am reticent since I've had a miscarriage before (first trimester still makes me nervous). I've had a healthy baby since, and I'm told there's no greater risk for me. I'm also concerned about how it feels and the level of discomfort. I am 35 and healthy (other than feeling queasy every day from being pregnant) and am planning on taking this, so any reassurance would be welcome.


I've had both CVS and amniocentisis, and CVS was far and away easier and less painful (although neither were extremely difficult or painful). I experienced some serious cramping during the amnio, but the CVS was over almost before I knew it had started, and I felt virtually nothing - maybe a little pressure. My memory is that the actual procedure (minus prep time) lasted less than a minute. (Although it was more than two years ago at this point, so my memory might be glossing things over a bit by now.) I think my doctor was very experienced and was particularly efficient, so he might have been a little better than most.

At the time, we really sweated the decision of whether to do the CVS or not, given the SLIGHTLY increased chance of miscarriage, but we had other overriding motivating factors to do it, so we went ahead, and had zero complications, very quick results, and now a beautiful, healthy, happy 18-month-old. Good luck, I'm sure you'll be in good hands. elaine


I had CVS at 11 weeks and it was great. Minimal if any discomfort. Mine was done through my stomach rather than vaginally so I bruised a bit, but other than that no problem. I also had an early miscarriage two years earlier, but after weighing the pros and cons it was more important for me to have results early (I was 37 at the time). I had mine done at UCSF-Stanford by Jim Goldberg sp? I would definitely do it again if I decide to have a second child. Good luck.
I had a CVS test before my daughter was born. She's now 20 months and healthy, happy and beautiful. I also had concerns about the risks of getting the test, both since it was so early and because it requires taking a sample of the chorionic villi (actual tissue close to the embryo, rather than just the amniotic fluid with the amniocentesis procedure). We got some really wonderful counseling from the people at the California Pacific Medical Center, where we had the procedure done, and then the procedure went extremely smoothly. I was also 35 and right on the bubble as far as comfort. We were told that the reason women 35 or older are recommended to have genetic testing is that the statistical risk of miscarriage due to the CVS procedure itself by then is either equal to or less than the chance of natural miscarriage. And as you get older, the risks of natural miscarriage increase more so than the risks of the test, so it's statistically less risky to have the test. I imagine since you're considering the test at all that you and your partner may want an opportunity to make decisions should you need to. I think the fact that you can get the CVS test between 7 and 12 weeks, vs. after 15 weeks with amniocentesis, gives you the time to make those decisions when you are still in your first trimester. More likely than not you won't be faced with a difficult choice, but my experience with the CVS (as well as several other women our age who had CVS tests) was very positive. Hope this helps. Gretchen
I had CVS five years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I too had miscarried before (twice) and was naturally concerned about that. I did quite a bit of research on CVS vs Amnio. What I found out then (you might want to check out if it is still true today) is that the miscarriage rate greatly depended on the Dr. who does the procedure. The only Dr. at the time who was doing the procedure in the EAst Bay was with the team who pioneered it in SF. Her name escapes me now but it is an Asian name. Her miscarriage rate on CVS was actually lower than the rate of miscarriage on Amnio.

As far as the pain, etc. associated with CVS; yes it was very uncomfortable, and yes afterwards you are pretty exhausted by it, some women have pain afterwards, I did not. Either way I feel that knowing the results of the test so quickly was well worth it. I am sure you know this but make sure you do the test 10 1/2 weeks through 12 weeks. Good Luck


I had an amnio for my first daughter and a CVS for the second. No comparison. The CVS seemed less risky, less invasive, took less time, I could see what was going on by watching the same monitor as the doctor. If you are having this done locally there is an amazing doctor through Alta Bates, I think -- Dr. Cheu (probably misspelling that) who does them all the time and is well-respected. Do the CVS, I say.
I had three Chorionic Villus Sampling tests, two through the cervix and one "transabdominally". All 3 were relatively painless with just once some cramping afterward that worried me but which was perfectly normal. I have Kaiser coverage and was very impressed with their doctors and good record with CVSs. The worst part is having to have a full bladder-this gets very uncomfortable if there's any delay! They let me pee out some (a line on a cup) but still!!! Ugh. Do take someone along to drive you home. You will want a little "babying" afterward. I was able to have my then 2 yr old son along once even though the paperwork said I couldn't. The dr was fine with it.

I got bad news from the second test and I'd like to tell people who are considering the CVS over Amniocentesis that I feel I was so much better off emotionally and had less to deal with physically too than those who found they had to terminate after the latter test. The tiny difference between the two tests in the chance of the CVS causing a miscarriage (and some of that difference could be miscarriages that would have happened anyway) was way worth it to me. It was still heartbreaking and one of my life's most difficult occurances, but in the group I attended later I saw far greater devastation in those who chose amniocentesis. And when the news is good-you have so many fewer weeks to worry! The stories about CVS causing limb abnormalities are still circulating when I think those occured in only one hospital which was doing the tests earlier than they are routinely done now. I was a bit disgusted with the medical people who warned me off CVS still based on outdated research when the success rates are truly great and the benefits also so tremendous. Best of luck to you-I also suffered a miscarriage (before I got to do a CVS) in between my two kids and know how sad that is. Be brave and know that you can handle all that life brings.


Regarding CVS I had one done at California Pacific Medical Center in SF in Nov 99. The test itself was relatively painless in my case, something like a pelvic exam. We chose to do CVS because it could be performed earlier (the test done in the 12th week) and the genetic counselor explained that the risk for CVS was about the same as for amnio. The only risk factor we had was maternal age, as I was 37 at the time. I had also experienced a 1st-trimester miscarriage some years ago and was nervous about complications and getting through the 1st trimester, but everything went fine in my case. We now have a beautifully healthy 2.5 month old boy. From my experience, I would recommend CVS, especially if you might consider terminating the pregnancy should a problem be found. This is the reason we were interested in doing a test as early as possible. Hope this helps. Rachel
I had a CVS test w/this pregancy at 10 weeks (I'm currently 31 weeks). It was quite painless - a little bit of discomfort - really just discomfort, not the "discomfort" that translates into "extreme pain" w/doctors & dentists. I have a very low threshold for pain & I was fine. I was told to rest for three days after - meaning not do anything strenous or out of the ordinary. The peace of mind that came w/the results were worth it for us. L
I had a CVS procedure last Sept at the Alta Bates Perinatal Center on Telegraph and thought the Staff was remarkable at treating patients like human beings (a rare thing these days). They were super professional, explaining everything clearly and taking the time to answer questions. Dr. Chuey, who trained with CVS guru Dr. Goldeberg at UCSF, did the procedure. I believe she is the one who does all the CVS for patients who come from the Alta Bates Fertility Clinic (after trying to conceive for several years, I was glad to be in the hands of a doc with a stellar track record at doing CVS). The most discomfort from the procedure came from having to drink a lot of water (you need a really full bladder for proper ultrasound imaging). The route of entry for the needle was trans-abdominal (as opposed to trans-cervical which is sometimes required, depending on the point of attachment of the amniotic sac vis-a-vis your uterus) and it required a subcutaneous lidocaine shot which felt like a small bee sting for just a couple of seconds. The CVS needle looks gnarly but I did not feel any pain whatsoever, just a minor tugging as the tissue sample was being taken. Feel free to e-mail me if you have more questions... and congratulations on your pregnancy! Caroline
I had prenatal genetic testing for my three children due to advanced maternal age - amnios for the first two mainly because I had a miscarriage beforehand. The third pregnancy was six years later when I was 43, so I chose the CVS. I figured it was sufficiently far from the miscarriage and I had had children in the meantime. It was fine and we knew the results earlier which gave us great peace of mind. Good luck on your decision.
At 42, for my first baby, I had a CVS test at 10 or 11 weeks at UCSF, which was easy and the results came quickly. For my second child, they found an incipient twin in the pre-CVS sonogram, so I was referred instead for amnio. There's a doctor at UCDavis who does amnios at 12 weeks with great success (I was referred by a neighbor who worked at Childrens Hospital; he began to do it when he got moms from the surrounding mountains who didn't come back for later amnios, and his published results match any later amnio program).

Go for experience. The more CVS's or amnios a doctor has done, the better your results (and the lower your miscarriage rate). Miscarriage rates 12 years ago when I had CVS were very low (2.5%).

Don't worry.


Amnio vs. CVS

Nov 1999

Does anyone have any advice about the benefits and/or disadvantages of an amniocentesis as compared to Chorionic Villus Sampling. I'm tempted to get the CVS, but I've never talked to anyone who'se gone throught the procedure. I've heard it has a slightly larger risk procedure. I've heard its has a slightly larger risk of miscarriage and that in the older CVS tests there was also a slight risk of limb deformities. I'm wondering if that's still the case.


(Also see comments about CVS in Amnio after low AFP result)

I would highly recommend the CVS procedure having done it with my first child. Now that I am pregnant again, I plan to have another CVS test. The test can be done at Week 10-12, with results available in 2 days, as opposed to Week 16 for Amnio with a two-week wait for results. So with CVS you will have the same very important information as much as eight weeks earlier in your pregnancy. That's a big advantage in my book. As far as the procedure itself goes, I found it to be about on par with a pelvic exam in terms of physical discomfort, i.e. very little. The doctor asked me if I would object to having a couple of doctors observe my procedure, which was a little weird but I said okay. My husband was also able to observe.

As far as risk of miscarriage, my OB/GYN had explained to me that the risk was maybe 1 in 100 for CVS versus 1 in 200 for amnio. Since I was referred to a very experienced doc who had pioneered the use of CVS, I felt comfortable in his care. The risk of limb deformities, as I recall, was attributed to inexperienced practitioners and isolated at a few centers where the procedure was done early on, so again, make sure your doctor refers you to someone who is very experienced. Good luck!!


I am 7.5 months pregnant and did CVS at 10 or 11 weeks and had a very positive experience. I am 36 years old and chose CVS because it gave me data a lot earlier than the amnio and miscarriage rate for the doctor I used was about the same as amnio. I, too, was worried about the higher miscarriage risk, but Dr. Chui (I think that was her name) has a good reputation and her rates are comparable to amnio... apparently it really varies by individual doctor. I think she is one of the only doctors in the East Bay who does CVS; there others are in the city. For me it was a really simple procedure, only mildly more uncomfortable than a prolonged pap smear. I had it done transcervically, but they also do it transabdominally... it all depends on where the palcenta is located. It is obviously, a really personal decision, but it really worked for me, and I was glad to have the data earlier in my pregnancy. Good luck with your decision.
I recommend the amnio over the CVS. I've done it both ways and consider the amnio far less "invasive". Both of these procedures took place at the same Alta Bates facility, but the need for an actual "tissue" sample for the CVS required a second (!) try, whereas the amnio was successful on the first attempt. For me, the amnio hurt less and was less "dramatic" than the CVS. The only true advantage I can see for the CVS was an earlier test date... but I can't recommend it. Hope this helps.
I had a transabdominal (I think that's the term - through my belly rather than my cervix) CVS at 12 weeks, and I was told that while the risk of miscarriage after the procedure is about 1% (while with amnio it's about 0.5%), at Alta Bates, because they do a lot of them, the risk of miscarriage is somewhat lower, although still slightly higher than with an amniocentesis. I chose the CVS because I wanted to have any bad news as early in my pregnancy as possible and I felt the risk was worth it. My doctor never mentioned anything about any risk of deformity with the CVS, nor did any of the educational materials I read mention this. You'll just need to get informed and make a decision-there isn't really a wrong choice here.
I just had a CVS in October, and it was a piece of cake. I was so captivated by watching the fetus dancing on the ultrasound, that I forgot to be afraid! The important thing, according to my OB is to have a really experienced doctor perform the procedure. I'm part of Health Net's Alta Bates Medical Group, and the very experienced CVS doctor at the Perimatal Center quit a week before I went in for genetic counseling. Health Net was able to negotiate a contract with California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in SF, and I had Dr Goldberg perform the procedure at 10 weeks. He has been doing CVSs for 10 years, and their miscarriage rate is the same as the amnio national average (1 in 200). The missing finger/toes syndorm happened a lot in the early years of CVS when they performed CVSs at 5-7 weeks (sometimes the needle would cut off the blood supply to the fetus). By doing a CVS at 10 weeks, this deformity is (usually?) avoided.

It's a very personal decision, but as a 40 year old single parent to be, I knew I had a higher chance of having a Down's baby and,being alone, that was moreof a challenge than I wanted to take on.For peace of mind, I wanted the test results as early as possible, in case I decided on an abortion, so that's why I ruled out an amnio (which can't be performed until 14 weeks and it can take two weeks to get the results). At CPMC I had the results in one week. One thing, with CVS you don't find out about neural tube defects, but most OBs have you take a AFP blood test at 16 weeks, so you can find that out later. You can also find out the child's gender with CVS, but I decided I wanted to be surprised!

I had a hard time getting pregnant (1-1/2 years on different fertility drugs), and until I had my CVS results AND passed my first trimester, I protected myself by distancing myself from the pregancy. After 13 weeks, I celebrated, and I feel so excited now! Good luck with making your decision!


I have done both and found the CVS to be an easier procedure and the results come back faster. If you are going through Dr. Cheue (if that's how you spell her name) she is as experienced with CVS as she is with Amnio, so the risk would be very minimal. Good luck!
I had CVS, after much debate and research. If I remember correctly, the risk of deformities is now almost non existent, and the miscarriage risk is the same as amnio. I had mine done at UCSF, which is one of the best in the country, or so I had heard, and had an excellent experience. I was very impressed with the caring and care of the staff, and surprised that it wasn't a more painful procedure. For me anyway, it was uncomfortable but not really painful, and fairly quick. Depending on how the baby is positioned, they either go in through the vagina or the top of the abdomen. I had the abdomen approach. I stayed home and took it easy for a day, and felt some very mild cramping, but nothing more. I personally preferred the ability to have it done early (rather than amnio which is much later), and was very pleased with the decision. Good luck!
I had CVS instead of amnio because I was concerned about how late I would find out the results from amnio (well into the second trimester). I knew a woman who had amnio, discovered her child had a very severe genetic defect (trisomy-13) quite late in the pregnancy, and felt she was rushed into having an abortion because they were pushing the allowable time limit. She wanted to have time to grieve and consider the issue from all sides. After that she always had CVS.

The key is finding out the miscarriage rate of your particular provider. I had a woman at the Alta Bates Perinatal Center do the CVS (I forget her name but think she's the only one there); she does them fairly frequently, is very experienced, and has a very low miscarriage rate.

The study that talked about the risk of limb deformities was done some years ago when they used to do the CVS much earlier than they do it now. Apparently with the fetal ages they use now, there's neglible risk.

Also, I had an amnio for my first child, and the CVS was even less painful than the amnio! I just felt tired for 24 hours and stayed mostly in bed.

Good luck! It was such a relief to get the good news from the CVS. It eased my worry much earlier than the amnio would have; I'm really glad to have made that decision.


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this page was last updated: Aug 12, 2013


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