Preimplantation Genetic Testing

Using PGT, Preimplantation Genetic Testing, as a Helpful Tool 

When prospective parents undergo IVF, one of the tools to increase the odds of successful implantation of an embryo is PGT, preimplantation genetic testing. Advanced genetic testing for embryos can better ensure the transfer of a chromosomally normal embryo, and can give additional data to those concerned about genetic conditions. PGT, preimplantation genetic testing, is an important tool to help determine the best embryo to transfer in hopes of a healthy birth. 

Understanding how PGT, preimplantation genetic testing, works

Preimplantation genetic testing happens in the IVF cycle after a woman’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized with sperm. The resulting embryo(s) are tested before the embryo transfer. 

The decision to pursue PGT, preimplantation genetic testing, is personal and made in partnership with your knowledgeable reproductive endocrinologist before starting IVF treatment at Laurel Fertility Care. For this test, a tiny bit of genetic material – about five to 10 cells – is biopsied from each embryo and sent to a genetics laboratory for analysis. The embryos remain intact and cryopreserved in our lab until test results arrive. 

PGT is an umbrella term including several types of screening tests, including the three most common tests listed below. Understanding their differences will better equip you to speak with one of our fertility specialists to know if advanced genetic testing for embryos might be right for you.

  • Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) This is the most common of the three testing options. This test checks that the number of chromosomes in embryos is normal – a total of 46, half from the egg, half from the sperm. This information is valuable because chromosomal abnormalities in a developing fetus can cause a miscarriage. Too many or too few chromosomes (known as aneuploidy) might also result in a failed embryo transfer or chromosomal disorders in children, such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome.
  • Preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic/single gene disorders (PGT-M) This screening looks beyond chromosomes, as it is targeted to look for specific genes. This test can reveal inherited genetic single-gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease or Tay-Sachs disease.
  • Preimplantation genetic testing for structural rearrangements (PGT-SR) This test screens the structure of the chromosome and can see if an embryo is affected by chromosomes that are altered due to a structural rearrangement. Rearrangements show up in chromosomes that might be missing, duplicated, inverted or misaligned, resulting in reciprocal translocations, Robertsonian translocations or inversions. These can happen spontaneously in an embryo, or a parent might be a carrier. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 500 people carry this status, but numbers are closer to 4.5% for those with recurrent miscarriages.

Find out if you need advanced genetic testing for embryos

Every genetic blueprint is unique, and our skilled reproductive endocrinologists take the time to help you navigate advanced genetic testing for embryos to make the best decisions for your future family. At Laurel Fertility Care we use PGT, preimplantation genetic testing, to not only improve the odds of a successful pregnancy but also secure a healthier outcome for your baby-to-be. Contact us to learn more. 

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