Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Genetic Screening: The Next Frontier

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a technique used for screening the genetic makeup of an embryo before it is used to make a pregnancy. This can be useful when a couple is aware that they have specific genetic disorders, or when couples wish to screen for genetic abnormalities during the IVF process.

Genetic abnormalities become more likely as a woman advances in age. By the time she reaches her mid-30s, around 60% of the embryos created are abnormal and this percentage will rise as time passes. Advancing age is one of the largest hurdles to having a successful IVF. The genetic information acquired through this procedure can be very useful for patients with recurrent pregnancy loss and allow us to be sure we are using genetically normal embryos.

In addition to screening embryos for genetic abnormalities, patients are able to use PGD for gender selection to help them have a boy or girl – assuming they have a baby of the opposite gender already. As the success with PGD improves, more patients are able to consider genetic testing in combination with their IVF cycle.

Improvements in embryo biopsy techniques, freezing of embryos, and more accurate genetic testing has led to a wider acceptance of PGD procedures. At California IVF we have used genetic screening techniques since 2006, and pride ourselves in remaining at the cutting edge of advanced genetic screening technologies. As seen with any medical procedure, there are some risks to think about when considering PGD. Contact us at California IVF to learn more about this technique and how it might help in your own unique situation.