Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: Overview

Also known as a preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), it is a test, which helps determine if the embryos are carrying any genetic defects. This is done before the implantation. PGD helps prevent several genetic disorders in the baby. The PGD testing is usually done on embryos created with the help of IVF.

How is it performed?

The PGD testing takes place during the normal IVF procedure, i.e. once the eggs are extracted and fertilized, and the cell division begins.

• Once the embryos turn 5-days old, a few cells are removed with the help of microsurgery and after the cell extraction, the embryos are frozen safely.

• The specialist will also analyse the DNA of the cells to check if any abnormal gene is present in any of the embryos. It is not a quick process as it can take about a week for it to complete.

• If the PGD clears the embryos of any genetic disorders, it will be then placed inside the uterus through IVF. Then, the doctors and the patient wait for implantation and a positive conception.

• If the other embryos are also free of any genetic conditions, they will be safely frozen and can be used later. However, the embryos with genetic conditions are destroyed. The whole process can last for weeks.

• The total time taken is about 5 days for development, then about 2 weeks for testing, and after that, you will discuss the results with your doctor. So, if you want to be sure and can spare time, then opting for PGD is a better option.

Who must use PGD?

If you or your partner are at a risk of transferring any genetic disorder to your kid, then this testing helps.

The other candidates for PGD are;

• People with sex-linked genetic disorders

• If you or your partner are carriers of single gene disorders

• If any of you are suffering from chromosomal disorders

• If you are over 35

• If you have experienced recurrent losses with your pregnancy

• If you have ever failed a fertility treatment

NOTE: Some people use PGD as a means to test the gender. However, it is not only unethical, but it is also an offense.

Benefits of PGD

• It can test more than 100 genetic conditions.

• Since the procedure is done before the implantation, it presents the couples with an opportunity to either keep or discard the pregnancy.

• There are several couples who haven’t pursued biological children because of genetic disorders. With the help of PGD, they will be able to do so.

Concerns regarding PGD

• Destroying an embryo, even because of a genetic disorder does not religiously permit some people. And, some believe that destroying an embryo is like destroying a living person.

• PGD is not completely full-proof as it cannot completely eradicate the risk.

• PGD is not prenatal testing.