Considering Genetic Testing for Your Embryo? Here are 7 Things to Consider

Father-BabyPreimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can be done during IVF treatment to identify embryos with genetic defects. The intention is to identify which embryos are healthiest and to avoid the use of embryos that will result in pregnancy loss. Additionally, the PGD process allows parents to avoid passing down a genetic disease. As with any medical procedure, PGD has pros and cons. Ultimately, there is no one answer about the use of PGD. It is a highly personal decision that each couple must consider.

PGD Process

PGD may be used during any IVF cycle. After the eggs are fertilized, they become embryos and rapidly begin increasing in the number of cells. During the early development of the embryo a single cell is removed and analyzed for genetic defects. If issues are found, that embryo is not used during the cycle.

Benefits of PGD

PGD is a way for couples, regardless of their medical histories, to address the risk of having a child with a genetic disease. Couples who have had previous failed IVF attempts, multiple miscarriages or a family history of genetic disease should carefully consider PGD. Benefits of the procedure include:

  • Performing a test at an early stage before implanting the embryos and resulting in pregnancy
  • The ability to address concerns for those who are at a high risk of having a child with a genetic disease
  • The ability to test for more than 100 different types of diseases
  • Substantially decreasing the likelihood of having a miscarriage or failed IVF attempt due to chromosomal issues.

Concerns with PGD

For some, the thought of using PGD results in ethical concerns. Some people do not feel comfortable discarding embryos, even if they’re found to have genetic disease. Things to keep in mind when considering PGD include:

  • While PGD is extremely accurate, it is not 100 percent.
  • Not every genetic disease is life threatening or an issue during childhood, therefore it is important to fully understand the situation and to speak with your medical team prior to making a decision.
  • While the process of PGD can determine gender, many believe using PGD for that sole purpose to be unethical.

PGD provides a means of addressing the risk of having genetic disease. This is particularly important as genetic issues are the leading cause of pregnancy loss. If you have questions about the process and its benefits, speak with your fertility care team.

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