Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a procedure that is used prior to implantation to help identify any genetic defects within embryos that are created through IVF and ICSI in order to prevent certain diseases or disorders from being passed on to the child.

How is the PGD performed?

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis begins with the normal process of IVF/ICSI that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a laboratory. Over the subsequent three days the embryo will divide into eight cells.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis involves the following steps:

1-First, one or two cells are removed from the embryo.

2-The cells are then tested to determine if a problematic gene is present in the embryo.

3-Once the PGD procedure has been performed and the embryo is seen to be free of any genetic problems, the embryo will be placed back into the uterus for implantation.

4-Any additional embryos that are also free of genetic problems but not used in the transfer may be frozen for future use and embryos that contain any problematic genes are destroyed.

Consent forms to freeze or destroy any healthy embryos after PGD will have to be signed at Bedaya Hospital prior to the start of the procedure.

Who can benefit from PGD?

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can benefit any couple who are at risk for passing on a genetic disease or condition.

Persons who are possible candidates for PGD:

-Carriers of sex-linked genetic disorders.

-Carriers of single gene disorders.

-Those with chromosomal disorders.

-Women aged 35 and over.

-Women experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss.

-Women with more than one failed fertility treatment.

PGD has also been used for the purpose of gender selection. However, discarding embryos based only on gender considerations is an ethical concern for many people.

Benefits of PGD

The following are considered benefits of PGD:

-PGD can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions.

-The procedure is performed before implantation therefore allows the couple to decide if they wish to continue with the pregnancy or not.

-For couples who are worried about genetic disorders transferring to their children the PGD procedure puts their minds at ease allowing them to pursuit their dream of having children.

Concerns with PGD

The following are considered concerns or disadvantages associated with the use of PGD:

-Destruction of embryos with genetic disorders is a strong ethical concern for many people. Many people believe that because life begins at conception, the destruction of an embryo is the destruction of a person.

-While PGD helps reduce the chances of conceiving a child with a genetic disorder, it cannot completely eliminate this risk. In some cases, further testing is needed during pregnancy to establish if a genetic factor is still possible.

-In some cases genetic disorders which are not found during testing do not appear in the child immediately but can appear later on in life when the child is older. The probability of developing a disorder later on in life should be a topic of discussion with our genetics counsellor.

-Keep in mind that PGD does not replace the recommendation for prenatal testing.

If you are interested in PGD, speak with your doctor, genetic counsellor, or a fertility specialist to discuss your options.