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The problem of the fetal electrocardiogram (FECG) extraction from maternal skin electrode measurements can be modeled from the perspective of blind source separation (BSS). Since no comparison between BSS techniques and other signal processing methods has been made, the authors compare a BSS procedure based on higher-order statistics and Widrow's multireference adaptive noise cancelling approach. As a best-case scenario for this latter method, optimal Wiener-Hopf solutions are considered. Both procedures are applied to real multichannel ECG recordings obtained from a pregnant woman. The experimental outcomes demonstrate the more robust performance of the blind technique and, in turn, verify the validity of the BSS model in this important biomedical application.