PGD Screening is Common at State-of-the-Art Fertility Clinics
Approximately 1,000 cases of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are performed in US fertility clinics each year. Therefore, screening embryos for genetically inherited diseases has become one of the standard services frequently offered to IVF patients. The main reason for PGD screening is to help older women with a history of repeated miscarri
ages to carry their baby to term. Only about 25% of PGD cases are performed to detect genetic abnormalities.
Drs. Hummel and Kettel recommend PGD screening to female patients over 38 years of age to limit the risk of genetic abnormalities for the baby. By performing the test, they also limit the risk of multiple births since the healthy embryos are identified and there is not need to implant several embryos to improve the odds of a pregnancy.
For many patients, the decision to have PGD screening is of financial concern. While the test is required by law to be covered by insurance in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois, patients in California must cover the cost on their own. Research in PGD continues to improve the technique.
Currently, embryology labs can only screen for a single-gene defect like Huntington’s disease or for the nine most common chromosome defects. Dr. Hummel and Kettel predict that it will soon be possible to test every single chromosome and thus lowering the risk of birth defects even more.