PGT-A during the COVID-19 pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients want to know how they can best prepare for treatment. We have lots of resources to help you prepare on our dedicated IVF and coronavirus webpage - including our new ‘treatment-ready’ checklist - but we may also be able to reduce your time to pregnancy with PGT-A testing.
In this blog, Alison Campbell, our Director of Embryology, explains the details of PGT-A, its benefits, and how PGT-A could be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) may sound complicated but it isn’t really. PGT-A is a test which can help identify embryos with the best chance of developing into a baby. How? PGT-A helps identify which embryos are likely to have the correct number of chromosomes (euploid), and avoid transferring those which do not (aneuploid).
PGT-A is mostly recommended for women of advanced maternal age or for patients who have had repeated unsuccessful IVF treatments, or miscarriage. Importantly, it can reduce the time taken to pregnancy as embryos with the incorrect chromosome number (which usually fail to implant or may result in miscarriage) are not transferred. So, these futile transfers are avoided and time, emotional and financial burden can be saved, or reduced.
How could PGT-A be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We are currently planning treatments for our patients who have had to postpone their treatment due to COVID-19, and also for new patients who are keen to progress.
Because we are all social distancing in order to contain and delay transmission of Coronavirus and stay safe, minimising travelling and the number of clinic visits is very important.
PGT-A could be helpful in reducing the number of clinic visits and the number of closer proximity procedures, like embryo transfer, as it results in the transfer of only those embryos with the correct chromosome number (euploid). If, for example, a patient had 5 embryos which underwent PGT-A, only 1 or 2 may be suitable for transfer, depending on the female age. Rather than sequentially transfer them all (up to 5 embryo transfers), we would only transfer the euploid embryos. That would mean significantly fewer visits, fewer embryo transfers, fewer ‘2 weeks’ waits’ and – hopefully – a much shorter time to pregnancy.
Can I have PGT-A during the COVID-19 pandemic?
PGT-A can be performed on fresh or frozen embryos. Therefore, if you have frozen embryos stored at CARE, we may be able to undertake PGT-A on them during the COVID-19 pandemic, before scheduling your transfer. You could also bring embryos stored in another clinic for PGT-A with us, if PGT-A is not offered there.
We still do not know when services will fully resume in UK fertility clinics, but one way to get treatment-ready could be to have your existing frozen embryos tested this way.
PGT-A is not considered to be appropriate for everyone, and much more information than this is required for you to make an informed decision about it.
I have written this blog to help you consider your options and, if you are interested, to contact your CARE clinic to discuss PGT-A further.
Stay safe and supported – With love from CARE xxx