Chorionic villus smapling has been used successfully for first trimester diagnosis of genetic disorders for over 14 years. When performed between 10 and 14 weeks' gestation, it is both safe and effective in the diagnosis of fetal chromosomal, biochemical, and molecular disorders, with risks comparable to those of second trimester amniocentesis. Cytogenetic results have been confirmed to be reliable and accurate. Although confined placental mosaicism occurs in approximately 1% of cases requiring interpretation, and occasionally additional invasive testing, its finding adds additional information about perinatal outcome and can alert the practitioner to fetal genetic disorders. Earlier concerns about procedure-induced limb defects have been reduced with the accumulation of additional data, showing minimal to no risk when chorionic villus sampling is performed after 70 days of gestation. In experienced hands, it may be the procedure of choice for sampling multiple gestations. Secondary to the advantage of safe, early diagnosis, chorionic villus sampling appears to be the optimal choice for first trimester testing.