Embryo genetic testing for a healthy baby
People who use IVF often get a baby picture that most parents will never have: their child when he or she was just a microscopic ball of cells. But even the strongest microscope can’t reveal whether an embryo has genetic abnormalities that could lead to lifelong disability. That’s why our Louisiana fertility centers offer embryo genetic testing.
Laboratory testing of an embryo’s genes can reveal whether an embryo is likely to develop into a healthy baby, or whether chromosomal abnormalities are present that could cause problems for the developing fetus or affect the child later in life. This allows the fertility specialist to transfer only those embryos most likely to develop into a healthy baby, giving hopeful parents more confidence when undergoing IVF.
Two types of embryo genetic testing
Our Louisiana fertility centers offers two types of embryo genetic testing:
- Preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT: Embryos are screened to ensure that they have the correct number and placement of chromosomes.
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD: Geneticists look for a specific genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease, when either parent is a known or suspected carrier.
In both PGD and PGT, a few cells are removed from each embryo within five to seven days of egg retrieval, and then the embryos are frozen. The extracted cells are sent to a genetics lab, where experienced geneticists examine their chromosomes. Within one week, a report arrives at our Louisiana fertility center, providing detailed information for hopeful parents and their physician.
By examining the embryos’ chromosomes at this early stage, geneticists can tell with 99% certainty if there are too many or too few normal chromosomes – a condition known as aneuploidy that can lead to miscarriage and serious developmental conditions.
Not only does embryo genetic testing give hopeful parents peace of mind that the embryo that is transferred has high potential to develop into a healthy child, the fertility specialist can confidently transfer just one embryo, reducing the chance of a high-risk multiple pregnancy.
PGT is an excellent choice for women and couples who:
- Have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss
- Have had multiple IVF failures
- Have unexplained infertility
- Are concerned about age-related chromosomal defects, such as Down syndrome
- Want the best chance of pregnancy with a single embryo transfer
PGD is an extension of embryo genetic testing that detects specific genetic conditions or heritable diseases that can run in families, such as Tay-Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy or muscular dystrophy.
Our Louisiana fertility centers strongly recommend PGD when one or both partners:
- Is known or thought to carry a chromosomal abnormality
- Has a family history of a genetic disorder
- Has had pre-pregnancy genetic screening that indicates both partners carry an inheritable genetic disorder
Both PGD and PGT can also pinpoint the sex of each embryo, giving parents more control over their family-building plans. However, it’s important to keep in mind that embryo genetic testing cannot predict the risk of certain birth defects that are non-chromosome-related, are random and unexplained, or that are related to toxic or other exposures during pregnancy.
To learn more about embryo genetic testing, contact our Louisiana fertility centers to schedule a consultation.