Genetics FAQs

We’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions about genetics below, but if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, get in touch  – we’ll do what we can to help.

An embryo biopsy is when one of our highly skilled embryologists removes a small number of cells from the outer layer of a five or six-day-old embryo. At this stage, the embryo is called a blastocyst, so you might have heard it referred to as a blastocyst biopsy instead. Biopsies form part of our pre-implantation genetic testing procedures.

PGT-M

Individuals or couples at risk of passing on an inherited disease to their children.

There are certain criteria that have to be met to be eligible for NHS funding for PGD treatment. CARE can only accept referrals from a UK Genetic Service. If you think you may be eligible please contact your genetic service directly if you and your family are known to them, or request a referral to Genetics from your GP.

Yes, providing you have a confirmed genetic change that has a risk of being passed to your child then you can request treatment privately. Please contact us.

In the UK, PGD is licensed by the HFEA to ensure that treatment is appropriate.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Huntington disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis

A full list is available on the HFEA website.

No.

A licence must be granted by the HFEA in order for PGD to be available for the specific genetic condition. CARE Fertility can apply to the HFEA on your behalf. If you would like further information regarding this process please call Rebecca Jones on 0115 852 8100.

The cost of PGT-M is approximately £9,000 - £10,500 and is divided in to two parts:

  • Cost of consultations, IVF, Drugs and Freezing - approx £5,000
  • Cost of PGT-M testing for Single Gene disorders - approx £5535

OR

  • Cost of PGT-M testing for Chromosome Rearrangements, inc.test? approx £3,940

Please see our fee schedules for a full breakdown of costs.

  • PGT-M test development before treatment: 4-6 weeks
  • IVF Treatment (from start of stimulation to embryo freeze): 4 weeks
  • PGT-M test results: 2 weeks
  • Frozen embryo transfer: between 4 and 8 weeks after review
  • PGT-M licence from HFEA - if CARE need to apply to the HFEA for a PGT-M licence for your genetic condition then please allow 2 -3 months for a decision.

The accuracy can vary but for most couples our diagnostic laboratory quote an accuracy of greater the 98% to accommodate all types of conditions.

PGT-M is a relatively new technique. Several studies have been carried out which have concluded that there do not appear to be any major side effects to the treatment. Studies are ongoing following up patients and babies born from PGT-M.

If you have a genetic condition, there is a risk that some of your embryos will be affected. Therefore, to increase your chances of success we need a number of high quality embryos to analyse to identify those free from the genetic condition.

If you are considering PGT-M treatment with a clinic in the UK, the condition must be licensed by the HFEA. if you are unsure if this is the case then please contact our PGT-M co-ordinator Rebecca Jones, on 0115 852 8100 who will be able to advise you further.

Click for more information on PGT-M, or contact CARE.

PGT-A

No. In the UK it is not legal to use PGT-A to select the sex of the embryo for social reasons.

PGT-A is a screening technique that allows us to examine your developing embryos for chromosomal abnormalities prior to embryo transfer. 

No. PGT-A is not a test to identify the risk of a specific genetic or inherited disease. That test is PGT-M.

PGT-A is a screening technique that allows us to examine your developing embryos for chromosomal abnormalities prior to embryo transfer. 

You don’t need to worry about damage to your embryos. Embryo biopsy and micro-manipulation of embryos have been carried out in laboratories across the world, and have been used in genetic cases for more than 25 years. There is a very low risk of damage being caused to the embryo during the biopsy procedure and CARE have not experienced this to date. Studies so far have shown these procedures are perfectly safe, and don’t cause any increased risk to children born as a result.

We hope this sets your mind at rest, but if you’re still unsure or have further questions, speak to your local clinic or contact us.

The main thing to consider is that not all your embryos may develop to Blastocyst stage, so you may have no embryos suitable for PGT-A.

Your PGT-A results may also show that none of your embryos have the correct chromosome numbers, resulting in no embryos to transfer.

Only PGT-A embryos can be transferred in the same cycle – non-selected embryos will not be used at the same time.

Click for more information on PGT-A, or contact CARE.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

NIPT has a higher detection rate and lower false positive rate than other prenatal screening options. Though it is not a diagnostic test like CVS and amniocentesis (which give you a definitive result), NIPT does not have the procedure-related risks that these tests do (a small number of pregnancies are miscarried from these procedures).

If you would like more information on how these tests compare to NIPT please ask a member of our team for details.

Although NIPT is highly accurate (>99% detection rate for Trisomy 21), it is not considered a diagnostic test like the CVS and amniocentesis procedures. Therefore, if the results for NIPT are positive, diagnostic testing options will be discussed and arranged for you.

NIPT does not replace the detailed ultrasound offered to every pregnant women between 18-20 weeks gestation. Ultrasound is important for many things, including looking at the anatomy (body parts such as heart, spine, brain, etc) of the baby, measuring the baby’s growth, and measuring the fluid around the baby. NIPT cannot measure these things.

Less than 0.5% of patients will receive a borderline result. The false positive rate is slightly higher in this category than in the "positive" category.

If you would like more information on any of our genomic services then please contact us.

Or if you would like to book an initial consultation you can complete the self referral form online.