Concerns over the safety of an innovative IVF procedure have rattled many communities, parents, and recently been the target of worldly concerns.
PGD—Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis detects genetic conditions, including categories of chromosomal abnormalities. Developed in the early 1990's, PGD serves as a way for intended parents to prevent a pregnancy affected by these circumstances.
Many couples request PGD for aneuploidy such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13 and Turner syndrome. Other couples appeal to PGD to ensure their child does not carry a possibly life-threatening inherited condition linked by family genes, such as Tay Sachs disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Fragile X syndrome, and spinal muscular atrophy.
In some clinics, IVF specialists offer PGD to genetically assess embryos prior to implantation. The genetic valuation is what makes PGD advantageous in achieving gender selection for family balancing resolves.
So—just how safe is it?
The University Clinic in Brussels, Belgium revealed its data on the 600 PGD cycles it performs each year. The data was recently revealed to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Turkey.
The effects of PGD on the 995 babies born indicated the risks of low birth weight, premature birth, major malformations and the perinatal death rate were equal to other procedures performed under IVF.
Chief researcher Dr. Sonja Desmyttere stated, "Embryo biopsy does not adversely affect the health of newborn PGD children.”
She strongly emphasized, "It is important for parents to know that PGD is a safe option."
The conference also reported results in which breast cancer genes can be detected by PGD—extensively prefigured as a momentous breakthrough.
The genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 can immensely intensify the risk of breast cancer. A woman with one of these genes has a 60 to 80% chance of developing breast cancer and an amplified risk of ovarian cancer.
Vrije University Professor, William Verpoest, indicated that although the breast cancer results were contentious, the technique offers an established option for those couples wanting to avoid the risk of passing the BRCA gene to their child.
PGD at work
Three days after an egg has been fertilized in an IVF lab setting, the developing embryo is divided into eight cells. IVF doctors skillfully remove one of the cells to test over 100 genetic diseases.
Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridization (FISH) is one technique to conclude abnormalities in the chromosomes within individual blastomeres. Fluorescently characterized probes recognize specific sequences of each chromosome and hybridize to the cell. The cell is then examined under a fluorescent microscope to identify the presence or absence of any specific disorder in question.
Mr. Stuart Lavery, executive of IVF at Hammersmith Hospital in London stressed, "This is quite an important paper.” He further remarked, “So to know that is OK for the baby is hugely reassuring."
PGD has opened the door for many couples to validate a healthy pregnancy by determining which embryos are best suited for transfer.
While studies are ongoing and IVF experts continue to further educate themselves on the significance of PGD, intended parents only wish for one thing—to have a healthy baby.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.