When a couple is having a baby, they often wonder whether or not their child will inherit traits like eye color or height. Often, people don’t think about the genetic diseases they can also pass on to their offspring. For example, cystic fibrosis is a chronic lung disease that affects 30,000 people in the U.S. Over 4.3 million people, however, carry the CF gene. In the African American community, one in 500 people has sickle cell anemia. With preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), Dr. James Douglas can help couples conceive without the risk of these illnesses.
For a child to be born with a genetically-inherited disease, both parents must carry the defective gene. Additionally, sex-linked disorders like hemophilia or fragile X syndrome can also be passed on to a child. Dr. Douglas utilizes PGD to identify healthy embryos for implantation during the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process.
In the following situations, Dr. Douglas may suggest PGD to couples:
The process for PGD begins like a typical IVF cycle; the female partner’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory. Previously, PCD involved an assessment of one cell from an eight-cell embryo, which was taken three days after combining the egg and sperm. Now, more advanced techniques make it possible for the analysis to occur five days after the sperm fertilizes the egg.
Waiting until Day 5 means that the embryo can develop into an organism with 30 to 60 cells, which allows for more accuracy in identifying healthy embryos. This new protocol of Day 5 evaluation delays the final transfer stage by at least a month. Viable embryos are frozen and preserved for transfer at a later time.
At IVF Plano, we want our patients to achieve successful pregnancies that result in healthy, happy babies. Advanced fertility options like PGD enable Dr. Douglas and our team to make this goal a reality for many couples.