The importance of genetic testing of embryos
We use genetic testing of embryos at our Southern California fertility center to find genetic abnormalities that may lead to birth defects or life-altering health conditions. Such testing helps to make sure that IVF embryos have the correct number of chromosomes through a method called preimplantation genetic screening (PGS).
However, PGS doesn’t test for specific genetic illnesses. Hopeful parents interested in this type of testing should ask about preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This testing can identify which embryos have a specific genetic illness, which are healthy and which are carriers.
Who needs genetic testing of embryos?
An embryo should have 46 chromosomes (23 from each parent). If there are more or less, it can lead to IVF failure, miscarriage or birth defects. We recommend that hopeful parents have genetic testing of embryos if any of the following situations sound familiar.
- They have a family history of a certain heritable disease.
- They have a history of miscarriage or failed IVF cycles.
- They want the fastest path to bring home a healthy baby.
Our Southern California fertility center specializes in the genetic testing of embryos, giving you the best chance of having a healthy baby.
A look at preimplantation genetic screening
During PGS, our embryologists remove a small amount of cells from the embryo for testing in our laboratory. Advancements in technology have led to a test called Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH). CGH can determine the total number of chromosomes in an embryo by testing a single cell. Amazingly, it can tell us whether the embryo has all the genetic information it needs to develop properly. Not only can we tell how many chromosomes are in the embryo, but we can also tell whether the genetic material is where it is supposed to be, or if it has moved.
At our Southern California fertility center, we only transfer embryos that are genetically complete. This gives you the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
Exploring preimplantation genetic diagnosis
If one or more members of a couple know that they have or carry a heritable genetic illness, they can undergo a type of genetic testing of embryos known as PGD. This testing helps avoid passing the illness to their future children. Using a genetic probe that is specific to the condition, our reference genetics lab can perform this testing on the hopeful parents’ embryos. By combining the probe with a biopsy from each embryo, the laboratory can determine which embryos are affected by the genetic disease.
This type of genetic testing of embryos allows our team to only transfer embryos that are healthy and unaffected by the genetic illness.
Contact our Southern California fertility center to learn more about the genetic testing of embryos and how it can help you increase your chances of having a healthy baby.