Naturally, every parent-to-be wants a healthy child. Unfortunately, the chance of producing abnormal embryos becomes much higher as women age, as fertility rates fall after 35. Pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT), a premium service offered by TMC Fertility Centre, helps to identify the “chromosomally normal” embryos that are the healthiest, to be implanted during an IVF cycle.
How is PGT testing done? Embryos fertilised in the lab will divide into individual cells known as blastomeres. A blastomere is then collected through a biopsy and tested for genetic and chromosomal abnormalities. PGT will help to identify if genetic/chromosomal abnormalities are present in IVF embryos. This in turn helps couples make informed decisions about what to do during the IVF process. Embryos unaffected by genetic or chromosomal abnormalities are then selected for transfer to the uterus.
According to fertility specialist Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu, there are two main types of PGT to suit the needs of different couples. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) or 24-chromosome aneuploidy screening is usually recommended for women above 40 or who have had recurrent miscarriages. All 24 chromosomes can be screened at the same time to confirm that the embryo has the correct number of chromosomes before being transferred to the uterus. In fact, TMC Fertility is the first in Asia to offer this technology.
For couples that have inherited genetic problems, the polymerase chain reaction technique detects certain common genetic disorders, such as haemophilia, alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia, through a highly sensitive analysis of the embryo’s DNA.
However, Dr Navdeep explains that sometimes, structural problems such as cleft lip palates are unavoidable – these occur even in healthy embryos. But he can ensure that there will be no chromosomal abnormalities, an increased implantation rate and a higher chance of success.
Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist at TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre (http://www.tmcfertility.com).
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