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Prenatal Testing > CVS Test
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
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
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
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.
CVS at at East Bay Perinatal with Dr. Weiss
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
CVS at UCSF
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
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.
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.
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.
CVS Test at Kaiser Oakland
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,
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
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
Anyone had CVS w/ Dr. Thomas Musci?
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.
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
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
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
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
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
I would not have considered anyone else. Based on the conversations I had with
obstetrician, the SF Perinatal Genetic Counselor and Dr. Goldberg, I felt
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
Im through the first trimester my worries about any complications are
I would also recommend having someone with you during and after the procedure.
have a toddler so I enlisted some additional help afterwards (youre not
to lift anything over 15 lbs for a few days). I made sure to lighten my work
exercise schedule as well for a week. Wishing you all the best.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
happy SF Perinatal patient
Dr. Robin Fields of Kaiser in SF
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!
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,
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!
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!
Dr. Mary Norton at UCSF
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Dr. Mary Norton
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.
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
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!
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.
CVS at Kaiser Oakland
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Re: Doctors who do CVS
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.
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
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.
What was your experience with the CVS test?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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%).
Amnio vs. CVS
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
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
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.
this page was last updated: Aug 12, 2013
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