Genetic screening

You may wish to undergo genetic testing for a variety of reasons, especially if you or your partner are carriers for certain genetic diseases. Our genetic testing service offers a variety of tests and screening packages that allow us to screen and assess both prospective parents, and/or your embryos, before we proceed with an IVF cycle. We can perform these genetic tests to identify the healthiest embryos with the best chance of becoming a healthy baby.

Many people proceed with assisted conception services without undergoing genetic testing – it is not a requirement.

Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS)

If you or your partner are at risk of having a genetic condition, you may wish to undergo PGS. This involves checking the chromosomes of embryos created through IVF or ICSI for abnormalities.

During PGS, we will remove a cell or a small number of cells from the embryo. We will then test the DNA of these cells to see if they have any chromosomal abnormalities. Only embryos without abnormalities are placed into the womb.

Risks

PGS involves removing cells from the embryo, so there is a risk it can cause damage to the embryo and prevent it developing once it has been transferred to the womb.

There is also a risk that all of the embryos tested will have abnormal chromosomes. We will not implant embryos found to have abnormal chromosomes.

Beyond the risks noted above, PGS carries the same risks as IVF.

Visit the HFEA website to learn more about this procedure.

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)

If you or your partner has a serious inherited disease, may wish to test your embryos for this genetic condition prior to implantation. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can test your embryos and ensure only embryos free of this condition are placed in your womb. If you wish to proceed with PGD you will need to have IVF, even if you do not have any fertility problems.

During PGD, we will remove a cell or a small number of cells from the embryo. We will test the genes or chromosomes of those cells for a specific genetic condition. At present, PGD can test for over 600 genetic conditions. Visit HFEA to find out which conditions are approved for PGD.

Embryos which are found to be free of the condition will be placed in your womb to develop, either two to six days after being created or at a later date.

Risks

There is no evidence that babies born following PGD are more likely to develop health or developmental problems than babies born using IVF alone.

An embryo can develop normally after having a cell or a few cells removed, but there is a possibility that some embryos may be damaged by this process. Damaged embryos cannot be used in IVF treatment.

Please understand that PGD is not 100 per cent accurate, so there is a small chance the tests may not work or may give the wrong information.

Visit the HFEA  to learn more about this procedure.

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