It is perfectly possible to undergo in vitro fertilization successfully without accepting any of the genetic testings they offer. Some couples prefer to leave it up to faith that the child they have will be healthy. Others prefer to know ahead of time and have the opportunity to end the process if the tests reveal serious concerns. It is a personal choice, but it is one that is easier to make when people understand what the tests are used for and how they can help.
What is preimplantation genetic diagnosis?
A preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a test offered by fertility clinics for embryos. It screens the embryo for single-cell defects in the gene that could develop into genetic disorders. If discovered, it gives the parents the opportunity to decide if they want to go ahead with the implantation. The testing does not harm the embryo in any way so it remains a viable option to use it or not as the couple prefers.
What are potential problems discovered during PGD testing?
The parents have the right to determine if the want to retain the embryo but have another implanted first, have the embryo implanted regardless of the test or have the affected embryo removed as an option. There is no definite path that must be taken based on the results of the test. All the PGD test does is provide people with the information they need to make an informed choice.
Who should have PGD testing performed?
There is really no valid reason for every single couple undergoing IVF to worry about PGD testing. Older parents, those that have suffered several implantation failures and women that have suffered repeated miscarriages may wish to use this resource. Parents with inherited gene disorders like sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis may also benefit from the testing.
PGD testing is not about creating perfect embryos and babies. It is a test that has increased the success rate for many couples undergoing IVF procedures. The testing is another step in the process that makes it possible for parents to choose the most viable, healthiest embryos for implantation. Fewer implantation procedures mean less heartache and lower costs for the hopeful parents.