Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) offers a way to select the healthiest embryos for transfer into your uterus, therefore increasing your chances of IVF success. However, the procedure does add an extra level of cost to your fertility treatment, so we only recommend PGT in certain circumstances.
PGT Makes the Most Sense If…
Here at the Reproductive Resource Center (RRC), we recommend couples consider preimplantation genetic testing when:
You have a family history of a genetic disease
The fact that genetic disorders and diseases affect only a very minor percentage of pregnancies seems like a miracle unto itself when considering all of the billions of things that take place to conceive and grow a healthy, “normal” human being. This is a testament to the fact that the human body has an innate intelligence and often blocks conception – or miscarries embryos – when it detects a chromosomal or genetic anomaly. Don’t’ let that happen to your next IVF cycle.
If you or your partner has a biological family history of a genetic disorder or disease, PGT is a good way to ensure that the embryos we transfer test negative for the particularly disorder in question. Some of the most common genetic disorders we test for include:
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Huntington’s Disease
- Translocations of genes (which cause miscarriages or birth defects)
- X-linked genetic diseases (the disease is only expressed in male offspring)
- Marfan syndrome
- Abnormalities in the number of chromosomes (Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 13, Trisomy 21, etc.)
If your medical history shows signs of less common diseases, we can test for those as well, but the more genetic diseases we test for, the more expensive the tests may be.
To Balance Your Family
If we’re testing for chromosomal health in an embryo, we automatically find out the sex of each embryo: XX is female and XY is male. As a result, PGT is also used to balance families. For many couples, particularly those who already have one or two children, the ability to choose the sex of the child is a nice benefit of PGT and the IVF experience – a journey that’s often fraught with grief and upsets along the way.
To Prevent Recurring Pregnancy Loss
Recurring pregnancy loss is devastating, particularly for individuals and couples who have been through repeat IVF cycles. If this is the case for you, and anatomical abnormalities (blocked tubes, uterine septum, fibroid tumors, etc.) have been ruled out, PGT can help.
Genetic testing of fetal tissue resulting from miscarriages shows that genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities are the leading cause of pregnancy loss. Testing embryos before they’re transferred may help to improve your chances of IVF success and a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Medical History Mysteries
If you and/or your partner were adopted and don’t have access to in-depth medical histories, or your family is relatively small and you don’t have much information about previous generations, PGT may not be necessary.
In this case, we’ll recommend preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which is covered by the large majority of insurance carriers. These tests are typically conducted on the mother first. Since most genetic disorders are recessive, a “clear” for the mother often means there is nothing to worry about. However, many couples experiencing infertility prefer to test both partners to have peace of mind.
Are you interested in learning more about preimplantation genetic screening and other testing tools designed to support your fertility treatment success? Contact us here at the Reproductive Resource Center.