Thanks to a new kind of testing called preimplantation genetic testing, the doctors at Fertility Associates of Memphis can tell you more about your embryo than ever before. This specialized testing greatly lowers the chance of having a child affected by genetic conditions and also minimizes miscarriage when you achieve pregnancy.
How it works
When couples undergo an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, eggs are taken from the ovary and fertilized with sperm, resulting in an embryo. For three to five days, this embryo grows in a laboratory environment. That’s when preimplantation genetic testing can occur: a sample of one or more cells is taken from the developing embryo and is then checked for certain genetic properties.
Thousands of healthy infants have been born because of preimplantation genetic testing. There are two broad types of testing: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). Both offer important insights depending on the patient’s needs.
What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?
The science of genetics has gotten so sophisticated so quickly that it can be used not only to treat serious diseases, but also prevent them well before pregnancy even begins through a technology called preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD.
PGD tests embryos for genetic defects that are known to exist in one or both parents. Since the 1990s, PGD improvements have allowed more and more disorders to be checked, including balanced chromosomal translocations, Huntington disease, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell Disease, Tay Sachs Disease, and Cystic Fibrosis. PGD is often helpful in fertile couples who want to avoid passing on a known genetic disorder to their children.
What is Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS)?
Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) identifies embryos that have genetic imbalances (such as Down syndrome). Women, especially older women or those with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss, may be more likely to produce embryos that are abnormal. With PGS, doctors can single out which embryos may have the greatest chance of being genetically normal.
How is Preimplantation Genetic Testing Performed?
To perform preimplantation genetic testing, patients undergo an IVF cycle in which eggs from the mother are retrieved and fertilized with sperm. After several days, when the embryo is made up of numerous cells, a biopsy removes one or more cells for testing. These cells are evaluated at one of the nation’s top genetics laboratories, and a genetic report outlines which embryos may be optimal. This process is unique to each patient, so the type of genetic testing performed and other factors may differ from person to person.
What are the Risks of Preimplantation Genetic Testing?
Misdiagnosis is the greatest risk of preimplantation genetic testing, but doctors have found that testing embryos five to six days after fertilization shows the most success. Though less likely, laboratory or human error could lead to an inaccurate result. In most cases, however, diagnostic accuracy exceeds 90%.
How Do I Schedule Preimplantation Genetic Testing?
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.