When talking about starting a family, the one thing most couples want is certainty. Going through the process of getting pregnant, experiencing the pregnancy, and then taking care of the baby in those early days is both joyful and anxiety inducing. That’s the reality for every couple, even if they get pregnant naturally and have a complication free pregnancy. The desire for certainty is even more pronounced for couples who are experiencing infertility issues.
Couples who are having trouble conceiving often get wrapped up in the subject of probability. How long should they try to conceive before seeking professional help? What are the success rates of fertility treatments? What are the chances of something going wrong? It’s a very trying time and wanting this certainty is understandable, to say the least.
Many couples who are having trouble naturally conceiving find success with in vitro fertilization. IVF has a 30-40% success rate which, in comparison to the chances of getting pregnant naturally during one cycle, actually isn’t low. But, assuming in vitro fertilization works, what are the chances that the baby is born with a condition that will require special care?
Because of this worry, some couples may be interested in PGD. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is testing that you can opt for that can give insight into the health of an embryo before being implanted during the IVF process. It’s similar to a prenatal diagnosis. Should every couple opt for PGD before going through with their in vitro fertilization procedure, however?
Who should opt for PGD?
Not all couples necessarily need to take this step when undergoing the IVF process, but if you are aware of any kind of history in either partner’s family related to genetic conditions PGD is a good idea. Having Down’s syndrome or cystic fibrosis in the family would increase the chances of the embryo carrying the genetics that would cause the disorder to actually manifest.
Generally speaking, the test looks for chromosomal normalcy. Because many conditions exist as a result of chromosome mutations, looking for abnormal chromosomes or extra ones as with Down’s syndrome can give a good indication of the health of the child should the embryo be successfully implanted and a pregnancy occurs.
PGD isn’t just for possible genetic conditions, though. It may also be recommended if you’ve suffered multiple miscarriages up to this point. If you have a history of fertility issues, PGD may be able to shed some light onto the root cause. The testing done on an embryo can determine if it would even be viable for a successful pregnancy before implantation. PGD is when many couples can find out why they’ve been having issues for so long.
What can be found with PGD?
One of the major conditions many parents try to screen for is Down’s syndrome. There are major risk factors that most parents are aware of. Being a genetic carrier is only one. As the mother ages, the risk increases. If she’s already had one child with Down’s syndrome, the chances of another child being born with it also increases. Other conditions tested for include cystic fibrosis, Huntington disease, or Marfan syndrome. Over 100 genetic conditions can be tested with PGD. Many of them are single gene disorders and sex-linked disorders.
Due to the thoroughness of the testing, this allows couples to have options. Because the testing occurs before implantation, you can see if the embryo is viable. This saves the time, costs, and emotional distress that would occur if an embryo of undetermined viability was implanted and the procedure wasn’t successful. Additionally, if it’s determined the embryo is at a high risk of developing a genetic condition, the couple can choose whether or not to continue with the process.
Are there risks involved with PGD?
There aren’t major risks involved when it comes to PGD. Essentially, it’ll be a matter of discussing probability with your doctor. It can help reduce the chances of having a child with a genetic disorder, but risk is never entirely eliminated. Additionally, many genetic conditions don’t even manifest until a person reaches middle age.
Having insight into any possible genetic conditions your embryo may have can provide extra assurance that you’re having a healthy baby. Beyond being able to identify any genetic conditions, PGD can also determine if an embryo is viable for a successful pregnancy. If you have any risk factors that you are aware of that may increase the chances of passing a condition onto a child, PGD may be recommended. If you’re interested in fertility services, contact us today. Dr. Sepilian and his team are here to provide you with the care you need so you can start your family while having peace of mind. Schedule an appointment and see if IVF is the right option for you and if PGD is necessary.