Amniotic Fluid: Alpha-Feto protein (AFP)

CPT Code(s):


Specimen Requirements:

Amniotic Fluid: Aseptically collect 1 – 2 cc of amniotic fluid. The initial 1-2 cc collected for prenatal chromosome studies may be utilized for AchE testing.

Do not freeze or fix samples in any manner contrary to the maintenance of cell viability. Maintain sample sterility; keep all specimens at room temperature; and deliver samples to the laboratory within 24 – 48 hours. Ship specimens at room temperature for overnight delivery.

Unacceptable Conditions:

  • Frozen
  • Specimens greater than 48 hours old*
Stability (collection to initiation of testing):

  • Ambient: 24 – 48 hours*
  • Frozen: Unacceptable

* Cell viability of specimens requiring cell culture may be compromised in specimens more than 48 hours old upon receipt. Refrigeration at 2° – 8° C may assist when a delay is not preventable. Do not freeze or place specimens directly on ice.

Contact the laboratory prior to submission (approved by consultation).


This screening test is used to detect the presence of elevated levels of alpha-fetoprotein detected in amniotic fluid samples collected during the second trimester of pregnancy (15w0d-22w6d), which may reflect the presence of fetal open neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.


Arranged for send-out for concurrently submitted prenatal cytogenetic studies only


10 – 14 days (subject to broad range of variables)