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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?

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.

If you have frozen embryos, PGT-A could be helpful in identifying the best of those embryos for transfer potentially reducing the number of clinic visits and the number of closer proximity procedures like embryo transfer. So for example, if you have 5 frozen embryos you might have up to 5 frozen transfers each requiring clinic visits to monitor the endometrium and then the transfer procedure itself.  Depending on your age and medical history however, some of the 5 embryos may not have the correct number of chromosomes and may not have the capacity to establish a successful pregnancy.  By carrying out PGT-A on your frozen embryos rather than sequentially transferring them all it may be possible to have significantly fewer visits, fewer embryo transfers, fewer ‘2 weeks’ waits’ and – hopefully – a much shorter time to pregnancy.

 

The PGT-A process requires one of our embryologists to carefully remove a few cells from an embryo – this is called a biopsy. For PGT-A, we biopsy embryos when they are 5 days old, just like in this video.

 

Can I have PGT-A during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. PGT-A can be performed on fresh or frozen embryos.  You could also bring embryos stored in another clinic for PGT-A with us, if PGT-A is not offered there.

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

 

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