What Is Preimplantation Genetic Testing & Why Is PGT Used During IVF?

What Is Preimplantation Genetic Testing & Why Is PGT Used During IVF?

Improving IVF With PGT

About 12.5% of American couples are impacted by infertility. Many of these couples turn to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, every year. Even then, the parents may have other concerns that affect the procedures success rate. PGT may be the answer for increasing the chance of conception when using IVF. Known as preimplantation genetic testing, this helps the doctor select the most reliable embryo before implantation.

RMIA What Is Preimplantation Genetic Testing _ Why Is PGT Used During IVF

What is PGT?

PGT is a procedure used to screen embryos for genetically based concerns. A biopsy is performed on the cells that later develop into the placenta. The specialist, an embryologist, extracts anywhere between 2-10 cells for the biopsy. Through testing, the clinic can uncover the right chromosome count of 46 and single-gene disorders. PGT before insemination lowers the chances of congenital disabilities and miscarriages. Typical conditions found by PGT include Down syndrome, fragile syndrome, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Huntington's disease. The overall chances of a successful pregnancy by incorporating PGT increases dramatically.

PGT mitigates genetic illnesses

The clinic tests cells to determine gene-specific diseases that may be dormant in one or both parents. Chromosomal abnormalities also decrease the possibility of pregnancy. All women have some chromosomally abnormal eggs. Similarly, all men have some chromosomal abnormalities in the sperm. These abnormalities could be easily passed to the child. Using IVF coupled with PGT increases the likelihood of pregnancy by selecting the best embryos. This method has proven effective for hopeful parents by eliminating the unknown factors that will impact successful pregnancy.

Older women and chromosomal abnormalities

All women are at risk of having chromosomal abnormalities. However, the risk increases with age. Studies show that women who have babies later in life are at high risk of chromosomal imbalance. Women between the ages of 38-42 have a higher chromosome error rate than women under 38. PGT improves women's healthy birth rate over 38 years by using viable embryos, opting for donor eggs or sperm.

Determining or preventing miscarriages

PGT is also great at testing causes for miscarriages. A fertility specialist can avoid mishaps by opting for PGT in IVF pregnancies. In the 1980s, embryologists examined embryos visibly before implantation. The selection process was only limited to visible anomalies. Now, PGT examines the embryo for up to 6 days to look for chromosome irregularities. This advanced step increases the effectiveness of IVF. Women are 50% more likely to achieve healthy full-term pregnancy by using PGT.

How does PGT work with IVF?

The PGT process takes place before the embryo is placed into the uterus. Over 6 days, the lab performs a range of tests. These techniques include microarray, fluorescent in situ hybridization, or FISH, and single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP. Each method allows the clinic to produce a report card on the genetic health of the embryos. The methods may evolve with technological advancements to uncover even more of the thousands of genetic diseases available.

There's still hope to become a parent

As technology improves, so do the chances of conception using IVF with PGT. PGT is especially helpful for older candidates or those at risk of passing on genetic diseases. Having a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby is possible by taking the extra step with testing. From there, only healthy embryos are used, or couples may opt for donor eggs or donor sperm. Speaking with a fertility specialist is the best option to relay any concerns and rule out genetic issues using PGT.

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