65 answers

Pregnancy & Genetic Testing

I will turn 36 at the end of the month & am 7 weeks pregnant. Since I am over 35, my doctor has asked me to consider if I want to have genetic testing done (i.e. CVS or amniocentesis). I had a healthy pregnancy & healthy baby girl at age 32 and am unsure about what to decide - especially since there are risks associated with both of these tests. I have done my homework & know there are higher risks of birth defects when you are over 35, but just wondering what others in my position have experienced and would recommend.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

This thought may sound naive, but even if there is a defect in the baby and you choose not to have thetesting, for nine months it can be a normal healthy baby. Enjoy the nine months and if everything works out, it's just icing on the cake!

I have made it very clear to my doc that I do not want any kind of genetic testing because 1. of the risks involved, and 2. because regardless of whether my baby has birth defects or not, I want to keep him. To me, the risk isn't worth the knowledge. In addition, I have had 2 friends that had amnio, and 1 of them, the test came out wrong, and said there was an abnormality when there wasn't. It made her worry her whole pregnancy for nothing. Don't do it.

Whatever you choose, just know that my mom was 41 when she had me and 42 when she had my younger sister and neither of us were born with birth defects.

More Answers

I am just going to tell you what my experience was and how I feel and let you get some advise from others. I am 35 and have a 10 month old. I have had three high risk pregnancies and three miscarriages. I had to have an amnio done with my last pregnancy, not for genetics but to find out if she would be able to be delivered early. I did not like the whole procedure. I was very nervous about the whole thing and found out later that one of my freinds had one done and ended up in the operating room having an emergency c-section after the needle scraped her daughters leg and she went into pre term labor. I did have the genetic testing done that they were able to do drawing my blood earlier in my pregnancy but not on the amnio fluid. I guess I had already decided that it would not have mattered if my baby did have some genetic problems esp downs because I still would have had the baby and I would have treated that baby like a normal member of our family. I definitly would have had her anyway. After having three miscarriages I have come to respect that a life is a life even if it has a few flaws. My husband also said that if we had another baby that he would not want me to have the amnio again. He had a very hard time watching it. Hope you get lots of good feedback either way and make the dicision thats right for you.

1 mom found this helpful

This thought may sound naive, but even if there is a defect in the baby and you choose not to have thetesting, for nine months it can be a normal healthy baby. Enjoy the nine months and if everything works out, it's just icing on the cake!

Hi T.,

I agree with the other moms - the decision is very personal and should be done after some soul searching. That being said, let me tell you about my story. I had my first two children when I was 29 and 32. God surprised us with another when I was almost 37 years old. The first doctor in my ob/gyn practice alerted me to genetic testing because of my age. I worried and worried and did so much soul searching, finally deciding not to put myself and the baby through these types of tests. What solidified my decision, however, was when I spoke with a different doctor in the practice. This doctor showed me the birth defect statistics of a 37 year old mom vs a younger mom. In the grand scheme of things, the percentages weren't that much higher and it all really put it into perspective with me. Good luck! K.

Would the outcome of those tests matter to you? If they would, then I would get tested. If the findings were abnormal, but it wouldn't matter to you, then I wouldn't even bother. I have passed up the routine alpha-fetal protein test both times because if my baby ended up having Down's or whatever, I would not choose to terminate the pregnancy. That's how I looked at it, and it helped me decide against the test. Hope that helps. Congrats and good luck!

I think it's important to thoroughly discuss all of your options with your doctor and your partner. If you elect not to do a full amnio, please do everything non-invasive you can to carefully monitor your child. My experience is slightly different in that my concerns are not specifically age related, but birth defects are a possibility even without any known family history. We discussed the quad test and amnio and also elected not to do so (justifying our decision by saying we would love our child no matter what and we maintained excellent pre-natal care). Thankfully our first two were completely healthy. Our third child however developed a very serious heart defect that thankfully was detected in ultrasound. Although the additional testing did not change our decision to have our child, it did allow us to make arrangements to deliver at a hospital best qualified to handle his needs and have necessary specialists and equipment on hand for the delivery.

We had two children prior and both pregnancies were easy-peasy and both children are completely healthy. Prior to our marriage, my husband had two children and again both are very healthy. So, you would have to guess good genes and odds are on our side, right? It's uneducated to assume so.

*** An update just to clarify -
If I had it to do all over again, I would do every test available. It would not change my decision to love my children, but it would allow me (and the doctors) to be as educated and prepared as possible. It is safer for the child and safer for you to be informed.
Also, just a note...
In my last pregnancy, we underwent something called a fetal cardiac intervention. At 35 weeks they actually performed surgery on my son's heart while still in the womb!! It is an amazing advance in technology. It clearly is an invasive procedure with many risks, but ultimately I carried him to term and had a natural delivery. Just sayin....

I was only 26 years old with my first pregnancy but at my first ultrasound (at 12 weeks) I was advised that from the measurements taken my baby was at very high risk of Downs Syndrome. I was told they measured very high fluid around the top of the spine. I was strongly advised by my doctor to have CVS testing done. There was actually a higher risk of the cvs causing a miscarraige than my baby actually having Downs Syndrome. I decided that if my baby had any defects I would carry on with the pregnancy anyway so there was no need to put my baby at any further unecessary risk. I was actually chastised by my doctor and told I was "burying my head in the sand", but I stuck with what I felt in my heart. A lot of people asked me if I was worried not knowing if there was anything wrong with the baby and I just said what will be will be. As it turns out that baby is now a healthy 5 1/2 year old boy. My advice to you is go with your heart, no one can tell you what is right for you to do, especially if you would plan to carry on with the pregnancy regardless of what the test tells you. There isn't much point in putting the baby at risk if that is the case. If you feel you need to know then that's ok too, but only you can make this decision, don't let anyone try to make it for you.
Good luck and God bless.

I am 36 years old and due to deliver in about 2 months. I know exactly how you feel. The doctors were scaring me about all of the risks and testing and finally my husband and I decided that it would be better not to do the tests. We figured I would be less stressed which would be better for the baby because with every test I would have to wait to hear and sometimes there are false positives. Not that I don't think about what could happen, I do. So far I am glad I didn't go through with the tests. Of course you have to do what feels right for you. I wish you all the best.


Hi and congratulations! I had my boys at ages 34 and 36 and had CVS with both. I'm the curious type and wanted my husband and me to be prepared for any of the major genetic risks. My first one was born 3 months early, and with my second, I was on bedrest for almost 4 months! I believe that was due to my genetics than the CVS. I had early contractions starting at about 20 weeks for both boys. They are now 12 and 14 and are doing wonderfully!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.