Fertility Associates of Memphis responds to non disclosure testing
Some people have a family history of diseases that cause devastating symptoms, in some cases significantly impacting quality of life. Increasingly, these disorders are found to have a genetic cause. Some forms of Alzheimer’s dementia, for example, are now known to be associated with specific genetic mutations.
For many patients, the ability to test for such a mutation is a double edged sword. On one hand, people want to know if they have a risk factor for developing such a disease and if they could be at risk for passing a mutation on to their children. On the other hand, some people prefer not to be tested and never know if they will be affected later in life. Basically, some people don’t want to learn about a condition that may not hit them for years, especially if there’s nothing they can do to treat it.
For the past several decades, screening embryos for genetic mutations known to exist in one or both parents has been possible through a technology known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD. PGD uses in vitro fertilization (IVF) to obtain embryos. These embryos are then biopsied and evaluated for the presence or absence of a certain genetic mutation known to exist in one or both parents. Unaffected embryos may then be used to obtain pregnancy. As genetic medicine has progressed, so have the applications for PGD.
However, traditional PGD requires knowing the genetic mutation harbored by a parent. While some patients want to ensure their children don’t inherit known genetic defects, they may want to avoid learning whether they carry the genetic mutation themselves.
According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, doctors are now devising ways to shield patients from information about their odds for disease as genetic testing becomes more common in research, fertility treatments, and other areas. The report focuses on PGD testing for Alzheimer’s disease stemming from known genetic mutations present in certain families. In such cases, many family members don’t want to be tested for the mutation. However, these individuals may now undergo IVF with PGD in which embryos without the mutation are identified and result in pregnancy. This “breaks the cycle” of these traits being passed on to future generations without requiring couples to ever know if they are carriers for such mutations or not. This type of nondisclosure testing is uncommon but is increasingly in demand.
The medical team at Fertility Associates of Memphis performed the first preimplantation genetic testing procedure in the Mid-South in 1996 and continues to use the latest, most cutting-edge techniques today. To schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians, please call our office at 901-747-2229 or visit online at www.fertilitymemphis.com.