Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of intrauterine infection. Recent publications show amniocentesis to have an 81-100 per cent sensitivity in antenatal diagnosis after 21 weeks' gestation. Testing before 21 weeks' gestation is less well documented. We performed 36 amniocenteses between 14 and 20 weeks' gestation. The sensitivity was 45 per cent and the specificity 100 per cent. Implications and possible causes of this low sensitivity are discussed.