Improving The Effectiveness OF IVF
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the gold standard in terms of infertility treatment. Thousands of couples struggling to have a baby see incredible successes with the technique. However, there are unknowns that IVF cannot determine. These unknowns could be the reason for failed cycles. Some hopeful families are also concerned about passing on diseases. Adding a layer of genetic testing, called PGT, to IVF can significantly increase the outcome.
What is PGT anyway?
Preimplantation genetic testing is an excellent use of technology and science to determine an embryo's genetic health. During IVF, an embryologist uses egg and sperm samples to create embryos in a culture dish. Before implanting the embryo, a biopsy is performed. In other words, the embryologist takes a sample of a few cells to send to a genetics lab. The genetic lab conducts a series of tests to scan for illnesses or possible defects.
Screening for the golden number
Preimplantation genetic testing is often split into 2 evaluations, namely PGS and PGD. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) looks for chromosomal abnormalities. Human DNA should contain 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Should this number change in any way, often due to low-quality sperm or eggs, there's a low chance of embryo survival. If the embryo does survive, the resulting child could have genetic disorders like Down syndrome.
Why couples should consider screening
Some women go through unexplained, repeat miscarriages when trying to get pregnant. These miscarriages extend to IVF, with multiple failed cycles. Genetic screening of an embryo could help clinics determine the root cause of the unsuccessful pregnancies. In some cases, PGT will uncover chromosomal abnormalities. From there, the clinic only transfers viable embryos. If viable embryos aren't possible, the next step is donor eggs or sperm. Donor gametes will significantly improve the success rates.
The impact of preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Some families are concerned about passing on specific diseases that run in the family to the child. The couple may even have a child with a genetic disease. The second part of PGT, called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), can check for these diseases. The genetic lab looks for over 400 common single-gene disorders like sickle cell anemia, Huntington's disease, or cystic fibrosis.
The benefits of PGD
Like screening, the clinic will transfer the embryos with the best chances of avoiding these diseases. The chances of miscarriage significantly decrease as well as the chances of developing diseases. Genetic testing an embryo also makes the IVF process smoother and more efficient. With testing, the chances of pregnancy increase in the first cycle of IVF.
Genetic testing is a game-changer
Hopeful parents should consider both forms of PGT if there is a history of pregnancy loss. People over the age of 35 may also benefit from testing. As part of the IVF process, genetic testing can significantly increase the success rate. Speak with a fertility specialist if there are any concerns about genetic diseases before moving forward.