How Genetic Testing Has Changed Fertility Treatment

As the technology for preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) of embryos has advanced over the past 10 years, it has changed the way we approach in vitro fertilization (IVF).  PGS involves genetically testing cells that have been biopsied from embryos made from an IVF cycle to make sure that the embyros we transfer into the uterus are chromosomally normal . PGS gives us great success rates and just as important, it gives us a chance to decrease the risk of multiple gestation pregnancies (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)

One of the biggest fears that many patients have about IVF is that they don’t want to be Octo-mom.  In the past, multiple embryos were often transferred into a woman’s uterus in an IVF cycle in order to give her the highest chance of pregnancy.  This unfortunately also put her at risk of having a multiple gestation pregnancy.  In general, multiple gestation pregnancies are considered high risk. High order multiple gestation pregnancies, such as triplets and quadruplets carry a high risk of preterm delivery and other pregnancy complications.  That’s why the goal should be to have a healthy single or twin pregnancy.

PGS allows physicians to select the single best embryo for transfer, thereby dramatically reducing the risk of multiple gestations.  Even if a woman makes several embryos from an IVF cycle, many of them tend to be chromosomally abnormal.  If transferred into the uterus, these chromosomally abnormal embryos will usually not result in a pregnancy and if they do, they have a high chance of miscarrying.  PGS allows us to weed out these chromosomally abnormal embryos and find the best normal embryo to transfer into the uterus.

Additionally, PGS gives women who have suffered from multiple miscarriages the opportunity to decrease their miscarriage risk.  As women get older, they have a higher risk of miscarriage due to chromosomally abnormal embryos.  PGS does not completely eliminate a woman’s risk of miscarriage, but it takes away a chromosomal issue as a cause. This dramatically reduces the miscarriage risk for many women.

At Reproductive Partners, we have a high tech embryology lab with the skill and experience needed for PGS.  We have excellent success rates for IVF with and without PGS.  We pride ourselves on taking great care of our patients and their embryos.

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