Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Fertility Treatments

May 15, 2010

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For couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a procedure undertaken to screen the embryos for a host of genetic diseases and disorders to ensure the delivery of a healthy baby. PGD helps physicians to identify some genetic defects within the embryo, prior to implantation, before the pregnancy is established. The couple can then decide whether or not they want to continue with the pregnancy. The procedure was first conducted in 1988 and since then this technology is increasingly being used in fertility clinics in the United States.

PGD is normally recommended for couples where one or both of the parents are a known carrier of a genetic disease such as hemophilia. The procedure involves the removal of one or two cells from an embryo which are then screened for genetic abnormalities. PGD identifies the embryos with chromosome abnormalities, thereby avoiding their transfer during an in vitro fertilization procedure. The analysis helps to detect certain inherited or chromosomal diseases such as Down syndrome, Thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia A, Tay-Sachs disease, and Turner syndrome among others, prior to implantation.

Most fertility clinics offer PGD in select cases such as:

Women over the age of 35 who have had miscarriages or failed attempts at becoming pregnant through IVF Women who have repeated pregnancy loss due to genetic disorders or who already have one child with a genetic problem Any couple who have been unable to become pregnant through multiple IVF cycles Couples who wish to identify a tissue match for a sick sibling who can be cured with transplanted cells

For couples who are at risk of passing on serious inheritable genetic diseases to their offspring, a diagnosis before embarking on a pregnancy is preferable to medically invasive, emotionally demanding prenatal diagnostic techniques. However couples with genetic disorders should receive adequate counseling about the risks of misdiagnosis and the possibility of no diagnosis before going in for PGD.

East Bay Fertility Center California, offers a wide range of infertility treatments along with expert medical counseling to couples facing difficulty in conceiving. Under the guidance of Dr. Ellen U. Snowden, Medical Director and Reproductive Endocrinologist, medical staff at East Bay provides dedicated treatment for infertility and reproductive endocrine issues.

At the center, PGD is offered as an option to couples who are at high risk of passing on a genetic disease to their children. The Center’s IVF experience and access to advanced genetic testing and counseling holds the promise of increasing the probability of a successful pregnancy outcome from an in vitro fertilization procedure and reducing the incidence of genetic disease. The use of this advanced genetic testing procedure allows only normal embryos to be transferred back into the uterus, providing a much better chance of achieving a full-term pregnancy with chromosomally healthy embryos.

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