Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
Selecting healthy embryos for a successful pregnancy
The primary goal of fertility care is to provide couples with a successful pregnancy that results in a healthy child free of disease and genetic abnormalities. Pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT) is a screening test performed on embryos created via in vitro fertilsation (IVF) to genetically analyse the embryos prior to transfer. In many cases, PGT allows to select healthy embryos for transfer and ultimately increase thechances of having a successful pregnancy to term.
How pre-implantation genetic testing works
PGT involves doing a biopsy and removing a small number of cells from an embryo so that it can be screened for chromosomal abnormalities and conditions.
The biopsy is often done on day 5 or 6 embryos. At this stage of development, the embryo is called blastocyst and consists of an inner cell mass and an outer layer of cells, known as the trophoectoderm. The inner cell mass will eventually develop into the fetus, while the cells from the trophectoderm will become the placenta. Biopsies are taken from the trophectoderm, and the cells that will form the baby are left intact and are not biopsied for testing.
After the biopsy the embryos are frozen awaiting the results of the PGT. The patient will be scheduled for a frozen embryo transfer cycle at a later date. PGT is a safe procedure and is offered by most state-of-the-art IVF clinics.
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Who are good candidates for PGT?
The benefits of PGT
Types of genetic testing
PGT-a is the most common form of embryo testing. It tests whether an embryo has the correct number of chromosomes. The correct number of chromosomes (46), also known as euploid, is necessary for the embryo to become a normal child. When an embryo’s cells have an incorrect number of chromosomes, either too few or too many, it’s known instead as aneuploidy. It can also tell you whether an embryo is male or female (XY or XX).
The prevalence of aneuploid embryos increases as women get older. Embryos with aneuploidy are more likely to result in an early miscarriage or failed IVF cycle, irrespective of the morphological appearance. Less commonly, aneuploidy embryos may result in the birth of a child with a chromosome condition, such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21).
In addition to Down syndrome, PGT-a can detect other full chromosome genetic abnormalities such as Turner’s syndrome (XO) and Klinefelter’s (XXY). PGT-a has been reported to have a high accuracy rate of about 98%.
A PGT-a normal embryo is estimated to have a 60% chance of live birth from a transfer cycle.
PGT-M is used to confirm whether a specific inheritable condition is present within a patient’s embryos. It enables couples with an inheritable genetic condition in their family to avoid passing it on to their children. PGT-M is typically recommended in cases where one or both partners have a known history of genetic conditions in their families. Examples of some common single gene disorders that can be diagnosed with PGT-M include: Thalassemia, Haemophilia A and B, Fragile X syndrome, Sickle cell disease, Cystic fibrosis, Duchene muscular dystrophy, Huntingdon’s disease, and Marfan syndrome.
PGT-a for non-medical indications: Gender selection
Contact NOW-fertility to learn more about Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
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