PGS ensures your embryos are chromosomally normal
A normal human embryo has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 chromosomes in total. Any more or less, and the embryo may have a lower risk of survival and a higher risk of lifelong disability. In PGS, or preimplantation genetic screening, embryologists count chromosomes from each embryo created through IVF so that only embryos that are chromosomally normal are transferred to the uterus.
Depending on your specific situation, our Southern California fertility center may recommend one of two types of genetic testing of embryos:
- Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS)
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
The goal of both types of testing is to prevent the transfer of genetically abnormal embryos, increasing the odds that you will get pregnant, stay pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. For both types of tests, a few cells are removed, or biopsied, from each embryo created through IVF. With PGS, embryologists examine these cells to ensure that the correct number of chromosomes is present. PGD takes PGS a step further, looking for a specific gene that is associated with a specific heritable disease.
Who needs PGS?
When an embryo has extra chromosomes, the baby could have life-threatening developmental problems, intellectual disabilities or physical defects. Examples of such disorders include Trisomy 21, which is also known as Down syndrome, as well as Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18.
If a chromosome is missing, the condition is known as monosomy. This can result in conditions such as Turner syndrome, in which females are missing a sex chromosome and typically have small stature, infertility and other limitations. Chromosomal structure can also be abnormal in other ways, causing a wide range of issues.
PGS is recommended for anyone who is concerned about having a baby with a chromosomal disorder that could affect the child’s quality of life, as well as for any woman older than 30 who is undergoing IVF. Our most recent data shows that in all age groups over 30, pregnancy rates increase with PGS, compared to cycles in which PGS is not performed.
With embryo biopsy, there is a slight risk of damage to the embryo, but people who choose PGS feel that the benefits far outweigh the risks, as chromosomal abnormalities can result in serious lifelong difficulties for a child. For women and couples who have experienced repeated miscarriages, PGS may hold the key to unlock the mystery of their infertility, once and for all.
Because chromosomally normal embryos have a better chance to implant and grow into healthy babies, PGS also makes it possible to achieve excellent pregnancy rates through single embryo transfer, reducing the odds of a high-risk twin or triplet pregnancy.
Proceed with confidence
By using PGS to ensure that your physician transfers only chromosomally normal embryos, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby, while reducing the odds that your pregnancy will end in miscarriage or your child will face lifelong physical, developmental or intellectual limitations.
To learn more about genetic embryo testing or PGS, contact us to schedule a consultation at our Southern California fertility center.