During the IVF process, doctors screen embryos for abnormalities using genetic testing. Preimplantation Genetic Screening, or PGS, is the medical term for this test, and it’s a vital part of IVF therapy.
Selecting genetically suitable embryos enhances the chances of a successful outcome when implanting the egg into the uterine lining.
PGS testing decreases the risk of miscarriage, providing you with the best possible outcome from the IVF treatment.
What Is the Process for PGS?
Before PGS testing can begin, the doctor and patient must carry out the IVF procedure. The sperm fertilizes the egg, and the embryo divides for five days.
After multiplying, doctors screen the embryos using the PGS method.
- Removal of one or more of the cells from your embryos
- Analysis of the DNA of the cell to determine how many chromosomes are present
- Doctors select high-quality embryos for transfer to the uterus
- Any remaining viable embryos go to cryogenic storage
How Long Does PGS Testing Take?
In most cases, doctors require between 7 to 10 days for embryo screening before they make a final selection for implantation. Doctors may perform PGS on fresh embryos from the third day of development. Implanting occurs on day 5 to minimize the risk of failure.
Is PGS Testing Required with IVF?
Yes, all doctors will advise you to go through with PGS testing. It’s not always indispensable in every case. However, it’s better to be on the safe side and get the testing down, especially if you have a risk of abnormal embryos developing.
You are a candidate for PGS testing if you meet any of the following criteria.
- You have a family history of genetic diseases or disorders
- You have several failed attempts at fertility treatment
- You experienced multiple miscarriages
- You need IVF treatment after the age of 35
Are there any Risks and limitations with PGS?
PGS testing is an established science with hundreds of specialist doctors practicing all over the world. The complexity of the procedure may seem daunting. Still, it does no damage to the embryo, and a 2010 study published in Human Reproduction, demonstrates an embryo biopsy in PGS testing doesn’t create an increase in a congenital disability.
However, there are risks and limitations to any medical procedure. Discuss the following with your fertility doctor before committing to the procedure.
- PGS is an invasive procedure. Therefore, you require an experienced doctor to ensure the embryo experiences proper transfer and handling during the PGS process.
- In some cases, PGS testing may result in no viable embryos found in the sample. This result is sometimes the case with women over the age of 40-years old.
- A phenomenon known as mosaicism may produce inconclusive results with your PGS testing. This situation occurs when embryos contain both abnormal and healthy cells.
Will PGS Enhance my IVF Results?
There are numerous scientific and clinical studies showing the efficacy of PGS testing in improving IVF results. Some of the benefits of including PGS testing in your IVF cycle include the following.
Better chances of a successful outcome – By screening embryos, doctors improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Less chance for a miscarriage – Chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo may create recurrent miscarriages. PGS helps to identify high-quality embryos in the selection process.
Speed up the IVF process – PGS reduces the number of IVF cycles required to reach a successful pregnancy.
Stop multiple pregnancies – Before PGS testing, couples undergoing IVF would have cluster births of up to eight children in some cases.
Increase the chance of birthing a healthy baby – By selecting embryos free from chromosomal abnormalities, PGS prevents your baby from being born with a severe illness or health disorder.