Rare fetal cells can be recovered from maternal blood, which suggests that non-invasive prenatal diagnosis is possible. However, recovery and analysis of fetal cells from blood is complex, and sensitivity is low because of the rarity of these cells in the maternal circulation. An alternative strategy, which suggested that intact fetal cells can be found in maternal plasma by use of simple enrichment methods, has been reported. We aimed to replicate this technique. However, five independent laboratories were unable to identify any intact male cells from the plasma of 38 women known to be carrying male fetuses. Although apoptotic intact fetal cells could contribute to the detection of fetal DNA in maternal plasma, we believe that recovery of these cells is difficult and not clinically practical.
ASJC Scopus subject areas