Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a method of duplicating DNA strands from a tiny sample of blood, hair, or tissue. PCR is used to identify infectious diseases, genetic conditions, and genetic links between people.
- Collecting amniotic fluid through amniocentesis is considered safer than fetal blood sampling.
- PCR is better than antibody testing to detect toxoplasmosis.
- PCR can be done earlier in a pregnancy than a blood test for antibodies. Because first- and second-trimester fetal infection carry the highest risk of birth defects and intellectual disability, earlier test results are important to parents who are considering ending such a pregnancy.
PCR is seldom used to diagnose toxoplasmosis in adults. Antibody testing of a blood sample is easier and more widely available.