If building the family of your dreams has presented some challenges, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a highly effective technique for bypassing certain hurdles to pregnancy.
The road to IVF has likely entailed years of frustration, so you, understandably, want to ensure that everything goes smoothly. That’s where preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) comes in.
Our goals here at NOVA IVF are the same as yours — to help you build the family of your dreams. As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, Richard Schmidt, MD, and Meera Shah, MD, along with our team of fertility specialists, offer PGD, which can help screen for genetic defects.
Here’s a look at why genetic testing on your embryos before implantation is a good idea.
What testing can tell us
When you undergo IVF, we stimulate your ovaries to produce viable eggs, which we collect and inseminate in our lab using your partner’s or a donor’s sperm.
To ensure the best chances of success, we create a number of viable embryos, which we can then test for genetic abnormalities, such as:
- Down syndrome (trisomy 21)
- Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18)
- Fragile X, which leads to intellectual disability
- Cystic fibrosis, an incurable hereditary disease that affects the lungs
- Muscular dystrophy, which affects muscle development
- Tay-Sachs disease, a rare neurological disorder
By testing your embryos before implantation, we can screen for these problems and choose only embryos that show no signs of chromosomal or genetic abnormalities.
This is especially important if you’ve had problems after embryo implantation before, as abnormal embryo genetics can cause failed implantation or miscarriage.
While there’s no such thing as a guarantee, PGD greatly enhances the probability of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby.
How PGD works
Once we inseminate your eggs, we wait for three to six days before initiating PGD. The PGD procedure itself is relatively simple. Our embryologist microsurgically removes a few cells from the embryos for testing.
If we test your embryos at three days, we place the fertilized eggs back into the incubator to await results, which usually take two to three days. Based on those results, we implant the healthiest embryos into your uterus.
If we wait until the six-day mark to initiate PGD, we remove the cells and then freeze the embryos while we wait for the results. This means that we can perform a frozen embryo transfer at a later date.
Ultimately, genetic testing isn’t what we’d call necessary, but it’s a safe and effective technique for ensuring that you get the most out of your IVF.
If you have more questions about PGD, please contact our office in Mountain View, California, to set up a consultation.