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Genetic Services

High-Resolution Fetal Ultrasonography

High-resolution fetal ultrasonography (also called Level II ultrasound) uses sound waves produced by an ultrasound machine to create an image of the fetus called a sonogram.  The genetic ultrasound evaluates the physical growth and development of the fetus. High-resolution ultrasound is typically performed between the 19th and 22nd weeks of gestation by a specialty center such as GIVF. Our certified sonographers and board certified physicians have additional training in interpreting traditional 2D, or specialized 3D and 4D fetal images.

The ability of the ultrasound to detect physical variations is affected by gestational age, the position of the fetus and the ability to visualize clear images. High-resolution ultrasound can often identify changes in development or birth defects. In all pregnancies there is a 3-4% chance of having a child with a birth defect. If there has been a previous pregnancy with a birth defect or a family history of a birth defect or genetic syndrome, this risk may be increased. However, small physical abnormalities may be undetectable even under the best circumstances.

During the fetal ultrasound, pregnancies are evaluated for the presence or absence of specific ultrasound markers, or physical variations in development.  Many ultrasound markers are seen frequently in healthy pregnancies and carry no clinical significance.  The presence of one or more markers, however, may increase the chance for a chromosome disorder or other genetic syndrome. Ultrasonography alone does not determine if a pregnancy has Down syndrome or other chromosome disorders; only the CVS or amniocentesis provides this information.

If an ultrasound marker or major physical abnormality is identified by your level II ultrasound at GIVF, you will be immediately informed and counseled regarding the finding(s). Additional genetic counseling, testing, or follow-up evaluations may be recommended. GIVF’s team of physicians, genetic counselors, ultrasonographers, and staff is dedicated to providing comprehensive and continuing care for your pregnancy.

To schedule an appointment, click here or call 800.552.4363 or 703.698.7355.