Increasing IVF efficiency with PGT


Ordinarily, there is no guarantee that an in vitro fertilization cycle will be successful and result in a pregnancy or live birth because it is known that most IVF cycles that fail do so as a result of random genetic abnormalities in the embryo(s).

It is no secret that human reproduction is fairly inefficient and this inefficiency increases with age. There are different types of chromosomal variations, in some cases, a child may be born with a chromosome missing from a pair (monosomy), or an additional chromosome (trisomy). In other cases, a portion of a chromosome may be missing, duplicated, or translocated.

A human cell contains genetic materials arranged in chromosomes. A normal cell will contain 23 pairs of chromosomes. Fertilisation combines 22 chromosomes and an X chromosome from the mother’s egg with 22 chromosomes and either an X or Y chromosome from the father’s sperm. An embryo then has 46 chromosomes – if it’s a female, with two X chromosomes, and if it’s a male, with an X and a Y chromosome. A gene is a sequence of DNA (genetic material) on a chromosome with a particular function.

One way of overcoming this inherent inefficiency of human reproduction is through Preimplantation Genetic Testing.  When you want to screen embryos for random genetic events that can cause IVF to fail, PGT is quite useful. These genetic problems with the embryo that don’t have to do with the parents’ age, contribute significantly to the reasons an IVF cycle could fail.

If you can determine which embryos are genetically normal (known as “euploid”), you can increase the odds of success and minimise the chances of miscarriage. Although success rates vary from patient to patient and clinic to clinic, pregnancy rates generally increase.

With the standard IVF cycles where eggs are retrieved and sperm is obtained, embryos are created and then cultured to the blastocyst stage. That process takes five to six days.

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On the 5th or 6th day, an embryo biopsy is performed. A few cells are removed from the portion of the embryo destined to become the placenta. The cells are sent for genetic testing and the embryos are frozen, awaiting the genetic report and then a frozen embryo transfer.

Normally, PGT identifies abnormalities that could affect the success of your pregnancy or the development of your baby, but after the testing, healthy embryos without identified chromosomal defects are transferred.

PGT can only be done in conjunction with an IVF cycle. If you and your partner have an inherited genetic disease or you are concerned about chromosomal abnormalities, you’re at risk of having a child with a genetic disease. The bottom line is this: if you would like to consider PGT, contact your doctor who would refer you to a suitable specialist.

Thanks to PGT, tests can be done for over 600 specific genetic disorders to eliminate the risk of transferring a specific genetic disease to the unborn baby. You may consider PGT if you or your partner have a family history of chromosome rearrangement, repeated unsuccessful embryo transfers, or terminating a pregnancy affected by chromosomal variation.

The test can lower your risk of miscarriage and increase your chances of having a successful IVF cycle at first embryo transfer. It can also reduce your risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities.


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