PGS is a technique involving the screening of embryo during the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. The test looks for abnormalities in the number of chromosome in the embryo with an aim to prevent certain genetic diseases or disorders from being passed on to the child. Briefly, during PGS, a single cell or a small number of cells is removed from the embryo. After that, the DNA of these cells is then tested to see whether they have any chromosomal abnormalities. Only embryos without chromosomal anomalies are placed back in the womb.
Who should get PGS testing?
PGS testing is recommended for individuals or couples who are determined to be at risk of creating abnormal embryos. You may be at risk if:
- Carriers of sex-linked genetic disorders
- Carriers of single gene disorders
- Those with chromosomal disorders
- Women age 35 and over
- Women experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss
- Women with more than one failed fertility treatment
Why PGS testing should be done?
PGS increases your success rate while performing IVF. There are a variety of areas in the IVF process where PGS can help:
- Increase the chance of successful implantation
By implanting the most viable embryos, you increase your chance of IVF working to get you pregnant and deliver.
- Reduce your risk of miscarriage
Chromosomal abnormalities may be the cause of recurring miscarriages. Because of this, implanting a healthier embryo can reduce this risk.
- Reach success in less cycle
Several couples need more than one cycle of IVF to find success which is expensive and invasive, costing time, money and emotional investment each go around. However, by pre-screening embryos can increase your chances of having a successful cycle in less time.
- Minimize the risk of multiple pregnancies
It is often for IVF to lead to multiple births (twins, triplets, and so on) because couples often choose to implant multiple embryos as the risk of losing an embryo during IVF is very high. PGS allows you to be more confident in the viability of an embryo so that your fertility doctor can implant one embryo instead of multiple and still be confident about your chances of carrying a baby to term.
- Increase our chances of delivering a healthy baby
Implanting genetically normal embryos increases the chance of having a healthy baby.
What happens during PGS testing?
The PGS normally includes collection, fertilization, 3-5 days of development, 1-2 weeks of testing, and scheduling an appointment to discuss results with your doctor.
It begins with the normal process of in vitro fertilization that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a laboratory. After five days, the PGS is performed on embryos. By then, the embryo has divided into multiple cells. At this point, one or multiple cells will be taken from the embryo for testing. Once this happens the embryos will be frozen until they are ready to be implanted.
The harvested cells are then examined to figure out how many chromosomes are present. Once fertility doctors have this information, they use it to choose the most viable embryos for implantation during IVF. Results will be available roughly 7–10 days following the cell extraction.
What are the benefits of PGS?
Mainly, PGS can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions. Next, the technique is performed before implantation thus allowing the couple to decide if they wish to continue with the pregnancy. Also, the procedure enables couples to pursue biological children who might not have done so otherwise.
How safe is PGS testing?
The test is delicate and complex that occurs at an essential moment during embryo growth. There are some risks linked with the PGS. First, there is a small risk of damaging the embryo during cell biopsy (extraction). Second, there might be no embryos free of chromosomal abnormalities. This happens most often due to maternal age. Finally, there is a chance that the test results will be inconclusive. In some cases, mosaicism can occur meaning both normal and abnormal cells can be found in the sample.