Last reviewed 01/2018

Fetoscopy is the endoscopic visualization of the fetus. The optimal time for doing this procedure is 18-20 weeks of gestation.

The fetoscope has a small field of view and so entire fetal visualization is difficult.

Fetoscopy provides a means of obtaining fetal skin or liver biopsies. Indications for fetoscopy include:

  • fetal inspection - facial and limb defect syndromes
  • fetal blood sampling - haemophilia A & B, fragile X syndrome, beta-thalassaemia, sickle cell disease, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • fetal skin biopsy - lethal epidermolysis bullosa
  • fetal liver biopsy - ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency Even in experienced centres, the risk of abortion with fetoscopy is about 5%.