Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
How does PGT-A (PGS) work?
Only 20% of fertile couples will conceive naturally in one month of trying. Why is this number so low? The answer is that many eggs have genetic errors. Chromosomes are the pieces of DNA that contain the genes that instruct the cells of the body how to function normally. If the egg and resulting embryo have the wrong number of chromosomes, then a successful pregnancy is not likely. Women are born with all the eggs that they will ever have, and as they get older, the eggs become prone to more chromosomal errors. These issues lead to increasing rates of infertility, miscarriage and genetic disorders like Down’s syndrome with advanced age.
The biggest factor that determines the success of an IVF cycle is the placement of a “normal” embryo into the uterus. Until recently, the only way to select the best embryo for transfer was its microscopic appearance. Unfortunately, many normal looking embryos do not implant and some implant but ultimately miscarry. Research shows that the most common reason that embryos do not lead to a successful pregnancy is because they carry the wrong number of chromosomes. The risk of having abnormal embryos increases with age.
Who is a candidate for PGT-A?
Any patient who wants to maximize their IVF success rates, especially:
- Patients whose age is greater than 35 years
- Patients desiring a single embryo transfer to avoid a multiple pregnancy
- Patients desiring gender selection
- Patients with previous IVF failure
- Patients with recurrent pregnancy loss
Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) formerly Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS), is a technique that screens embryos for the correct number of chromosomes to lower miscarriage rates and improve the chance of a live birth. Aneuploidy is a medical term that means “the wrong number of chromosomes”.
South Jersey Fertility Center was one of the first IVF centers in South Jersey to have a successful pregnancy using Pre-implantation Genetic testing. This success occurred over 15 years ago but the technology available at that time was not applicable to all patients. We have been early adopters of all of the major advances in embryo culture, biopsy and freezing, and have embraced the dramatic improvements in genetic testing. We are positioned to offer this powerful technology to all patients undergoing IVF.
In order to “count chromosomes”, we need to sample some cells from the outer edge of the embryo, and send those cells to a special laboratory where the DNA is tested and the number of chromosomes is determined. This technique, called Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) or Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) allows an enhanced way of selecting the best embryo to transfer, and results in higher pregnancy rates and lower miscarriage rates. PGT-A requires In vitro Fertilization (IVF).
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a common fertility treatment where eggs are fertilized with sperm outside of the body and the resulting embryos are placed into the uterus to establish a pregnancy. Fertility medications are given to make egg containing follicles grow within the ovaries. These eggs are retrieved and fertilized by placing one good sperm into each egg (ICSI) and then allowed to grow for 5-6 days to the blastocyst stage. A small number of cells from the outer edge of each embryo are sampled and sent to an outside lab for testing and the embryos are frozen. In a subsequent cycle, we hormonally prepare the uterus to transfer a normal embryo. There is evidence that frozen-thawed embryo transfers may be more successful than fresh transfers. Transfer of a chromosomally normal embryo greatly increases the chance of a successful pregnancy and virtually eliminates multiple pregnancies.
About Our IVF Program
South Jersey PGD/PGT-A Specialists
The PGD/PGT-A doctors and specialists at South Jersey Fertility Center are highly experienced is helping patients achieve their dream of starting their family. We service PGD/PGT-A and other fertility patients in New Jersey through our offices in Marlton, Burlington, Sewell, and Egg Harbor.