By Dr. Aditi Dani, IVF Speciality
In-vitro fertilization is a boon for people who face fertility problems. It paves the way for such people to conceive against all odds. In IVF, the physician artificially fertilizes the egg in the lab and transplants it into the womb. While IVF produces excellent results in most cases, there is always likelihood for genetic diseases or conditions for the offspring. Therefore, two tests, namely PGD and PGS, have been developed that can minimize the risk of such an occurrence.
What is PGD?
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD is an embryotic testing procedure, where the embryo is screened for a specific gene, mutation or abnormality. PGD is only considered when one or both parents know or suffer from a genetic condition and believe that it may affect their child as well. The test determines whether any of the fertilized eggs have any genetic defect. In case of a defect, that egg is no longer considered for transplantation into the mother’s womb. Instead, the egg deemed healthiest is chosen.
Need for PGD testing-
PGD testing is strongly recommended in the following situations-
• Any couple having a family history of aneuploidy should consider the PGD test. Aneuploidy is a condition resulting in an abnormal number of chromosomes. This condition can result in abnormal pregnancies or even miscarriages.
• Down syndrome can also be detected using the test
• Other genetic defects, such as sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy, can also be screened using PGD
What is PGS?
Pre-implantation Genetic Screening is a medical procedure that is used to determine the health of an embryo fertilized using IVF only when none of the parents has or suspects any history of genetic abnormalities in their families. If one or more of embryos show abnormal genetic makeup, they are no longer considered for uterine transfer into the mother.
Need for PGS testing-
Prospective parents should consider PGS testing only if they do not have any genetic abnormalities. Furthermore, doctors can recommend the test under the following circumstances-
• If the prospective mother is aged 38 years or older
• Couples who want to undergo just one embryo transfer
• If there is a prior history of miscarriage or recurrent loss of pregnancy
• If there is a prior history of failed IVF treatment
People undergoing IVF should consult their doctors about the testing before the fertilized embryo is transferred into the mother, so that the resulting child is healthy and does not suffer from life-long, chronic genetic conditions.