If you are wanting to conceive and you or your partner have genetic factors that lead to infertility, you may want to undergo genetic testing. Genetic testing allows your DNA to be examined to figure out if your genetics is causing your infertility. From there our fertility specialist can help you determine which treatments can help you in your efforts to conceive. Genetics can also determine past genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia to find out if your child might be at risk for the disorder. At the end of the day, the goal is to increase your odds of having a healthy baby.
With in-vitro fertilization, preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) allows us to see if there are abnormal chromosomes or genes we can screen to make sure that genetically unhealthy embryos are not carried over to the uterus. A preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows us to see if your embryos are genetically inclined to be at higher risk for disease, and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) helps you in case you have a pre-existing risk of abnormal embryos based on your genetics.
Both PGS and PGD have been around since the 1990’s. Since then, the processes have been refined to increase the success rate. The screening is typically performed using a single cell(s) from embryos which are anywhere from three to five-days-old.
The most common testing involves PGS. Its focus is to screen for chromosomal abnormalities. If there are more than 23 pairs of chromosomes, this particular embryo would not be used for implantation. PGD focuses on finding specific genetic problems, including certain cancers, or cystic fibrosis, for example. While this won’t tell us that your baby will contract the disease, it does alert us that the gene is there, and you will still need to have prenatal testing done by your doctor during your pregnancy as needed.
Who typically sees a fertility specialist for genetic testing before a fertility treatment? Women in their late thirties or older, women who have had IVF problems or miscarriages in the past, women who have had three or more miscarriages consecutively, and couples who might be genetically predisposed for medical problems because of their family tree.
The process of genetic testing won’t hurt the embryo. So you don’t have to fear having complications during the pregnancy because of this testing. Just keep in mind that fifty to seventy percent of the time, tests performed on embryos have chromosomal abnormalities.
If you would like to speak to one of our reproductive endocrinologists in Idaho Falls, Idaho, about genetic testing before IVF, we encourage you to give Idaho Fertility Center a call at 801-785-5100 or email us at [email protected]. We are here to help you with your conception journey.