Alpha-Fetoprotein (Pregnant Woman), Serum

1 Day(s)

Reference Range

Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a major glycoprotein produced by the yolk sac and the liver during fetal life. The protein is thought to be the fetal counterpart of serum albumin, and can bind and transport a multitude of ligands including bilirubin, fatty acids, nickel, and copper. AFP levels decrease gradually from the blood of both mother and child within a few weeks of birth. The level of AFP is usually measured as part of a Prenatal Interpretive Screening test to check for any developmental abnormalities. ELEVATED levels of AFP in maternal serum are associated with open neural tube defects, omphalocoele, gastroschisis, defective kidneys, congenital nephrosis, and normally increase in multiple pregnancies. In men, non-pregnant women, and children, HIGH levels can mean certain types of cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, Ataxia telangiectasia, or Wiscott-Aldrich syndrome. LOW levels are seen in molar pregnancy, missed abortion, and Down’s syndrome. See also b-HCG, FE3, Inhibin, and Prenatal Interpretive Screen.

Special Requirements

Collect sample between 15-20 weeks of gestation. Provide the following information: Gestational age of mother on date of sample collection. Weight anddate of birth of mother and relevant patient history. Specimen must be collected before amniocentesis.

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