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New advances in genetic screening

Here at CARE we have been carrying out Preimplantation Genetic Screening for several years. However recently we have been able to further improve the accuracy and availability of this technique due to new advances and treatment packages.

What is Preimplantation Genetic Screening?

PGS is a technique used during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment to check the chromosomes (genetic material) of the embryos for abnormalities. This procedure is recommended in some cases to prevent embryos which have an abnormal set of chromosomes and unlikely to form a pregnancy (or may form an abnormal pregnancy) being transferred back into the womb following IVF.

Who will benefit from PGS?

PGS is potentially suitable for everyone, however it is commonly advised if:


- You are over 35
- You have had several failed IVF attempts (recurrent implantation failure)
- You have suffered recurrent miscarriages (= 2 miscarriages)
- There is a family history of chromosome problems or if you have had a previous abnormal pregnancy
- Your partner is known to have sperm with a high rate of chromosomal abnormalities
- Ultimately as everyone's circumstances are different your fertility doctor will discuss with you whether PGS is appropriate to your own situation.

Embryo biopsy

The PGS procedure requires the embryologists to remove (biopsy) cell(s) from an embryo when they are 5 days old. The cell(s) which are removed from the embryo are stored in a uniquely labelled container and sent to our genetics lab to have their chromosomes screened (checked) to ensure they have the correct number. We perform this procedure for all the embryos which are of a suitable quality to be screened in an IVF cycle.

Genetic screening – Next Generation Sequencing

The genetics lab uses a procedure known Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to identify the abnormalities in any of the 23 chromosomes in the cell(s) of the embryos. This procedure is the latest and most accurate of genetic screening techniques. The results take around 14 days to return so the embryos are frozen awaiting the results.

The genetics lab will report back to us with the results of the screening, providing a detailed summary for each embryo. It is quite likely that the majority of the embryos will be screened as having an abnormal set of chromosomes - this is fairly common and explains why not every embryo is capable of forming a pregnancy or why a significant proportion of pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, in some cases it may that none of the embryos have normal genetic result, in this case there will be no embryos to transfer. If you do have genetically normal embryos then a frozen embryo transfer cycle will be arranged.

The genetics lab will report back to us with the results of the screening, providing a detailed summary for each embryo. It is quite likely that the majority of the embryos will be screened as having an abnormal set of chromosomes - this is fairly common and explains why not every embryo is capable of forming a pregnancy or why a significant proportion of pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, in some cases it may that none of the embryos have normal genetic result, in this case there will be no embryos to transfer. If you do have genetically normal embryos then a frozen embryo transfer cycle will be arranged.

Interested in learning more about pre-implantation genetic screening? Contact CARE Fertility today.

 

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