Modern technology allows parents who plan an IVF to know more about the child’s health even before the embryo is implanted.
Who can do embryo chromosome testing?
Embryo chromosome testing, also known as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), is a procedure that’s performed as part of in vitro fertilization (IVF). During the IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop. And this embryo can be tested. The procedure can also be done as part of an intracytoplasmic sperm injection ICSI.
How is PGT done?
After the eggs are fertilized and develop into embryos, a small number of cells are taken from each embryo. These cells are then sent to a lab where they’re analyzed to detect any chromosomal abnormalities.
What is PGT for?
There are several reasons why you might choose to undergo embryo chromosome testing. For one, it increases the chances of a successful pregnancy. Identifying and implanting only the embryos that have the correct number of chromosomes, reduces the risk of miscarriage and increases the likelihood of a healthy baby. This is particularly beneficial for women who are older (> 35 ), have a history of miscarriages, or have experienced failed IVF cycles.
Another reason is to avoid passing on certain genetic diseases. If you or your partner carry a genetic condition that you don’t want to pass onto your child, PGT can help identify which embryos are affected.
Pros and cons of PGT
As with any medical procedure, there are both pros and cons to consider. On the plus side, PGT can greatly increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy. It can also provide peace of mind, particularly if you’re at high risk for certain genetic disorders.
On the downside, the procedure is not 100% accurate. There is always a small chance of a false positive or false negative result. It’s also quite expensive.
Although PGT is considered a low-risk procedure for the embryo, like any medical procedure, it’s not entirely without risk. The main risk associated with PGT is potential damage to the embryo during the biopsy process, which could potentially lead to its loss. However, studies suggest that when the biopsy is performed by experienced professionals, the risk of harm to the embryo is quite low.
Is the procedure legal?
In most instances, PGT is perfectly legal, although regulations can vary by country and even by state or province. It’s important to consult with a local fertility clinic or legal professional to understand the laws in your area.
PGT in Thailand
Thailand allows for the screening of genetic abnormalities in embryos before implantation and can be done in the following cases:
- The woman is over 35 years old
- The woman has a history of more than 2 miscarriages while the pregnancy is not more than 12 weeks, or the result of a test confirms that the previous miscarriage occurred because the baby had genetic abnormalities
- There is a history of pregnancy where the baby has abnormalities due to chromosomal abnormalities
- The woman is unable to get pregnant after doing IVF twice in a row
- To diagnose genetic diseases that may be passed on to the embryo
- To screen for chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo
- To treat a child who is sick with a disease by transplanting stem cells from the umbilical cord blood of the firstborn baby with compatible tissue
However, regulations can change, so please consult a local professional for the most up-to-date information.
Choosing the baby’s gender
PGT can also be used to determine the sex of the embryos. However, in some countries using this technology to select the sex of your future baby is not allowed.
Embryo chromosome testing is an incredible scientific advancement, but like any medical procedure, it’s important to fully understand it before making a decision. Consult with your doctor or a fertility specialist to discuss your specific circumstances and the best path forward for you.
What about if we conceive naturally?
For parents who are conceiving naturally, there are these chromosomal tests during pregnancy, such as a chorionic villus sampling (CVS), an amniocentesis, and low-risk non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPT) which can detect common chromosomal abnormalities.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (1 August 2023)
- Preimplantation genetic testing (including preimplantation genetic diagnosis and preimplantation genetic screening), American Society for Reproductive Medicine
- Preimplantation Genetic Testing: Its Evolution, Where Are We Today? National Library of Medicine
- Preimplantation Genetic Testing, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- ข้อกฎหมายกับการรักษาภาวะมีบุตรยากด้วย IVF และ IUI ในประเทศไทย, Bumrungrad International Hospital