How Much Does a Chorionic Villus Sampling Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

A chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a medical procedure which will test a small sample of the mother’s pregnancy tissue to see if any genetic abnormalities exist.

Whether you recently received an abnormal result from a routine prenatal blood test or your doctor recommends the testing based on your circumstances, this diagnostic test, when compared to an amniocentesis test, can be performed earlier in the pregnancy, meaning a soon-to-be mom can receive results a lot sooner.

Akiko Yabuuchi, a Ph.D. in George Daley’... by NIH-NCATS, on Flickr
Akiko Yabuuchi, a Ph.D. in George Daley’…” (CC BY 2.0) by NIH-NCATS

The average chorionic villus sampling price

The cost of a chorionic villus sampling will greatly depend on your insurance company, the lab being used and your geographical location.  From what we researched, the average price paid, without any private health insurance policy, will range anywhere from $1,700 to $2,800, including physician fees.  This is the price estimate for the chorionic villus sampling only and will not include any doctor consults, future genetic counseling or any additional testing if needed to confirm a positive result.  As mentioned, this will not include your health insurance, either.  Depending on your insurance company’s policy, they may or may not cover the procedure, but usually, as long as your doctor deems it necessary and you are considered a high risk during your pregnancy, there is a good chance you will be covered.

UCSF Health notes that most insurance companies will cover the procedure, especially for women who are older than 35 years old; however, in order to be covered, you may need a referral from your doctor’s office or an authorization, depending on how your health insurance plan is set up. notes the tests can range between $1,400 to $2,000, but it’s also common for this price to increase if you want the results faster than average.

What is a chorionic villus sampling (CVS)?

The CVS test will test the tissue that holds the fetus to the walls of your uterus, essentially finding any chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome and Tay-Sachs.  The test is often done during the ninth and 12th week of pregnancy and may be recommended if you are either older than 35 years old, have a family history of birth defects and/or currently have a child with a birth defect.  The test, as per Planned Parenthood, is deemed to be relatively safe; however, this is a slight chance of a miscarriage, with three in 100 reported.

How the procedure is done

Before the procedure is even considered, most doctors will ask you meet with a genetic counselor who’s able to assess your pregnancy history, family history and explain the options for your situation.  Then, if the test is needed, an appointment will be made.  On the day of the procedure, you may be asked to drink a glass of liquids about an hour before a test as a full bladder can make the testing easier.  You will also be asked to sign a consent form saying you understand of the risks involved.

The procedure almost always will be performed at your local doctor’s office by a perinatologist, but in some cases, it may be performed at a local hospital.  During the procedure, an ultrasound will be performed in order to locate the placenta.  Then, after locating, either a very small tube is inserted through the cervix, known as a transcervical procedure, or via a thin-like needle is inserted through the stomach into the uterus, known as a transabdominal procedure.  From there, a small sample of tissue is taken from the placenta and will then be taken off to a lab for processing.

Depending on the laboratory the doctor’s office works with, the lab results can take anywhere from one to two weeks to process, and the results are known to be 98 percent accurate for Down syndrome and other related chromosomal defects.

The results

The genetic material of the sample is looked at in detail.  Normally, there will be 46 chromosomes in each cell, all arranged in 23 pairs, and this number and arrangement can determine if the baby has a genetic disease.  The test will either come back as normal, meaning no abnormalities were found in the genetic material or the chorionic villus cells or as abnormal, which means abnormalities were found within the genetic material or the chorionic villus cells.

The test can find certain problems, but a normal result won’t guarantee the baby will be healthy as no test can do this.  In some rare cases, you may see an abnormal result, even though the cells are normal.  This is known as a false-positive result and may need to be confirmed with an amniocentesis.

If, by chance, you do receive abnormal results, your doctor will then discuss the result with you to help you make a decision of whether or not you want to continue with the pregnancy.

Tips to know

The process is said to be relatively painless, but some women report cramping or bleeding/spotting after the procedure was performed.  These side effects, while relatively minor, will subside a few days after the procedure, but if it continues, then you will want to talk to your doctor to explore your options.

This test cannot detect neural tube defects such as spina bifida.  If this were suspected, then a doctor may recommend an amniocentesis. notes the procedure is not recommended for women who either have an active infection, are carrying twins and/or have experienced vaginal beleding during pregnancy.

How to save money

With procedures such as this, many doctor’s offices and labs are willing to work with you if you don’t have insurance.  For example, if you pay cash or even via credit, you may be able to receive a discount of up to 40 percent off.  It doesn’t hurt to ask if you plan on paying cash.

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