PGD, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis, has been hotly debated for a decade, but a long term study, using one of the largest sampled demographics to date, states that if guidelines are followed the PGD is completely safe for those going forward with IVF treatments. Most testing happens after the embryo is only a few days old, and when it has scarcely eight cells. Doctors can remove one of those cells for testing. More than 100 genetic diseases can be tested for with just that one cell.
PGD More Prevalent in Europe with IVF than in US
PGD has been used by doctors and patients in Europe for many years now, with some hospitals doing more than 600 a year. This is also an important finding because it allows families with definite genetic risk factors, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, to be detected prior to implantation. This could potentially save parents, who have already gone through the financial and emotional cost of IVF treatments, from further trauma down the road.
IVF Treatments and Fertility Medications
The study followed tens of thousands of women who were on a wide range of fertility medications, especially those going forward with IVF treatments and implantation. The removal of just that one cell at day three had no significant impact on the baby, its ability to implant as an embryo, and the researchers went on to say that after implantation the continued use of new and improved IVF drugs have seen the birth rate and successful IVF live births rise in the EU. What this means for the US is that though it is offered in the US, it is not a standard procedure. This new study has captured the attention of those in a position to make it a standard procedure in the US. Many who have been holding off on infertility treatments, or for whom the cost of the fertility meds outweighed the odds of a successful birth, are now reevaluating.
Who Would Benefit from PGD Testing with IVF Treatments?
As a general rule, the study suggested that there were certainly patients who would benefit more from PGD testing than others. Women who were over the age of 35, for instance, and whose viable egg rate may be lowered are prime candidates for this type of testing. Likewise, those who have had repeated IVF failure may benefit from this testing as a way to select those eggs that may have the best chance of success. Obviously, those whose family genetic history includes diseases would benefit from the screen, while those who have had recurrent miscarriages may also choose to have the testing done, so that they can perhaps deduce why the miscarriages are occurring.
The Numbers are Very Encouraging for those Utilizing IVF Treatments and IVF Medications
The study shows that for those who underwent the PGD testing, there was a lowered rate of miscarriage, and showed very high IVF success rates. Many IVF clinics are now considering offering this as a standard procedure, but for now, in most IVF clinics, it is more of an ‘add on’ to the conventional IVF treatment. Until then, patients will have to ask for it, and knowing about it is the first step towards that. Combined with fertility drug support, this type of testing and the IVF procedures offer a very great hope for IVF success and a baby for any couple that would like to have their own child.