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    Toxoplasmosis Test for Fetus

    Toxoplasmosis Test for Fetus

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    Topic Overview

    When a pregnant woman has toxoplasmosis , a PCR test on amniotic fluid is used to learn whether her fetus is also infected.

    Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method of duplicating DNA strands from a tiny sample of blood, hair, or tissue. PCR is used to identify infectious diseases, genetic conditions, and genetic links between people.

    PCR is preferred over a fetal blood test for antibodies because: footnote 1

    • Collecting amniotic fluid through amniocentesis is considered safer than fetal blood sampling.
    • PCR is better than antibody testing to detect toxoplasmosis.
    • PCR can be done earlier in a pregnancy than a blood test for antibodies. Because first- and second-trimester fetal infection carry the highest risk of birth defects and intellectual disability , earlier test results are important to parents who are considering ending such a pregnancy.

    In rare cases, PCR produces false-positive or false-negative test results. Follow-up testing and fetal ultrasound monitoring for hydrocephalus can help confirm PCR test results.

    PCR is seldom used to diagnose toxoplasmosis in adults. Antibody testing of a blood sample is easier and more widely available.



    1. Nayeri U, Thung S (2013). Congenital fetal infections. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology, 11th ed., pp. 267-289. New York: McGraw-Hill.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Current as ofMay 30, 2016

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