Understanding the Benefits of PGS and PGD for IVF Treatments

A newborn baby

When you begin in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, your fertility doctors may want to perform a variety of test to help detect any fertility issues and determine your current health. Two of the tests that your doctors may recommend include PGS and PGD.

PGS and PGD are genetic tests that help uncover potential issues with the health of your embryos. By using these tests, your doctors may be more likely to find healthy embryos for implantation. However, these tests can be costly and are not always required.

Before you consider spending money on PGS or PGD, you should understand what these tests look for and how they can be used to increase the chance of a successful IVF treatment.

What Is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis?

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a genetic test that is used to detect genes that may increase the likelihood of passing certain genetic diseases to your child. Along with detecting the presence of potentially harmful genes, this genetic screening can help detect abnormalities in your embryos.

PGD is commonly recommended for couples that have a family history of specific genetic diseases. You do not need to have the disease to be a disease carrier, which means that you may not be aware that you are passing these genes down to your child.

Abnormalities or translocation of genes are a couple of issues that this genetic screening looks for. These issues may result in miscarriages and birth defects. The screening is performed before embryos are transferred to the uterus. Doctors can avoid using the abnormal embryos and leave the unaffected embryos for transfer, which may increase the chances of successful IVF.

The PGD helps to look for chromosomal translocations. These are rearrangements of the chromosomes that may lead to abnormalities in the embryo.

The screening also helps to detect single-gene disorders. There are more than 4,000 of these disorders, including Marfan syndrome, Huntington disease, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, or muscular dystrophy. Using the PGD, you may detect that you or your partner is a carrier for one of these diseases.

Who Should Consider Using PGD?

PGD is a complicated screening process. It requires an embryologist to examine the individual genes in your embryos. The test is completed before the embryos get transferred and can cost thousands of dollars. However, it may help detect abnormalities that may increase the risk of miscarriage.

If you have suffered one or more miscarriages or other complications during the transfer of embryos, embryologists may be able to use the PGD to help find the healthiest embryos. For example, they may use the screening process to eliminate embryos containing genetic abnormalities or containing genes that increase the likelihood of the diseases discussed.

What Is Preimplantation Genetic Screening?

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is like PGD in that it helps to detect potential issues that may decrease your chances of successful IVF. However, it does not look at the individual genes. With the PGS, doctors are determining whether or not your embryos contain the right amounts of chromosomes.

A healthy cell should contain 23 chromosome pairs. More or less chromosomes indicates an abnormality, which is one of the top causes of miscarriages and failed IVF treatments. These abnormalities are more common as you get older.

Who Should Consider Using PGS?

Like the PGD, the PGS may be used to help isolate healthy embryos for transfer to your uterus. However, this test often costs significantly less than PGD. While PGD may cost about $5,000, the PGS may cost about $1500.

The PGS can be used by any woman that wants to increase her chances of getting pregnant through IVF. While it can be used to eliminate embryos that carry a higher risk of miscarriage due to abnormalities, it can also be used to find the best embryos for the IVF treatment.

It should be noted that this test typically requires about five embryos. For women with a lower ovarian reserve, the PGS may be difficult. You may need to complete an additional IVF treatment so that your body can grow more embryos for the PGS.

Main Differences Between PGD and PGS

The PGS test is often recommended for couples that want to improve the outcome of the IVF process. However, the costly PGD is typically reserved for couples that have dealt with recurrent pregnancy loss or fertility issues.

The PGS has limitations. It does not screen for specific disorders. It also does not look at every chromosome. However, it can be effective at eliminating the use of embryos when chromosomal abnormalities are detected. PGS can also determine the sex of the embryo, which may be used to allow parents to select the sex of the embryos that are transferred to the uterus.

The PGD test can look for specific genetic disorders. It helps detect mutations that may be the result of recessive genes. The PGD is often recommended for those that have a family history of specific disorders.

Talk to Your Fertility Specialists about PGS and PGD

If you would like to learn more about either of these genetic tests, you should discuss PGS and PGD with your fertility specialists. Depending on your specific situation, your doctors may recommend these tests to locate the healthiest embryos for use in the IVF process.

PGD and PGS can also rule out the possibility of specific genetic diseases that may decrease your chances of getting pregnant. However, they may also find abnormalities in your embryos, which can be used to help find the best embryos for implantation. In the end, the decision is yours to make.

Keep in mind that both tests can be costly and should not be taken without exploring your options. These tests may also harm the embryo, especially when performed by an unqualified embryologist.

If you are considering using either of these tests, you should first ensure that you are working with a reliable team of fertility specialists. Before choosing to undergo either test, talk to your doctors to ensure that you understand what these tests may or may not do.

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