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Prenat Diagn. 2001 Dec;21(12):1070-4.

First-trimester fetal sex determination in maternal serum using real-time PCR.

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  • 1Centre de Diagnostic PrĂ©natal, American Hospital of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Erratum in

  • Prenat Diagn. 2002 Dec;22(13):1242..


Fetal sex prediction can be achieved using PCR targeted at the SRY gene by analysing cell-free fetal DNA in maternal serum. Unfortunately, the results reported to date show a lack of sensitivity, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, determination of fetal sex by maternal serum analysis could not replace karyotype analysis following chorionic villus sampling. A new highly sensitive real-time PCR was developed to detect an SRY gene sequence in maternal serum. Analysis was performed on 121 pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy (mean gestational age: 11.8 weeks). Among them, 51 had at least one previous male-bearing pregnancy. Results were compared with fetal sex. SRY PCR analysis of maternal serum was in complete concordance with fetal sex. Among the 121 pregnant women, 61 were bearing a male fetus and 60 a female fetus. No false-negative results were observed. Furthermore, no false-positive results occurred, even though 27 women carrying a female fetus during the current pregnancy had at least one previous male-bearing pregnancy. This study demonstrates that a reliable, non-invasive sex determination can be achieved by PCR analysis of maternal serum during the first trimester of pregnancy. This non-invasive approach for fetal sex prediction should have great implications in the management of pregnant women who are carriers of an X-linked genetic disorder. Prenatal diagnosis might thus be performed for male fetuses only, avoiding invasive procedures and the risk of the loss of female fetuses.

Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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