substance produced by the fetus that is found in fetal
serum, amniotic fluid, and the mother's bloodstream. Elevated
levels of AFP may indicate that the baby has a neural
tube defect such as spina bifida (incomplete closure of
the spinal column) which can lead to paralysis of the
lower limbs, repeated urinary tract infections, mental
retardation or hydrocephalus ("water on the brain").
It is also a useful nonspecific tumor-associated antigen