Alpha Feto Protein Serum
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is produced by the liver of the fetus and low levels of it are present in the blood of a pregnant woman. Healthy women (non-pregnant) and men do not have almost negligible amounts of AFP in their blood.
Why is the test ordered?
An AFP test may be ordered to screen a pregnant woman’s fetus for neural tube defects (brain and spinal cord issues) and Down syndrome. It may also be ordered to screen testicular, ovarian or liver cancers and to monitor cancer therapy. The test may also be recommended to individuals who suffer from chronic hepatitis B or cirrhosis.
When is the test ordered?
The test may be recommended for a pregnant woman as a part of the maternal triple or quadruple screening test, which is usually ordered between 15 and 20 weeks of gestation. The test may also be recommended for monitoring patients undergoing cancer therapy for ovarian and testicular cancers as well as hepatocellular cancer.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
No special preparations are required for the test.