PGT: Everything You Need to Know
For couples going through fertility treatments, it can seem like you’re picking up a whole new vocabulary full of acronyms – IUI, FSH, AMH. If you and your partner are considering IVF, there’s likely another term you’ve heard: PGT, or pre-implantation genetic testing. But what is PGT? And when is it a good idea to have it done? The experts of the Center for Reproductive Medicine are here to answer your questions about pre-implantation genetic testing as part of IVF.
What is PGT?
Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing is a technique in which tests an embryo prior to implanting it in the uterus. Once the egg is fertilized, the embryo is allowed to develop in the lab for five days before a few cells are removed for genetic testing. The embryos are then frozen while the cells are being tested. After the results of the genetic testing come back, the couple can decide which embryos would be best for transfer to the uterus, hopefully resulting in pregnancy.
When should PGT be done?
While deciding to have a baby is a happy and exciting time for most couples, for those with a family history of genetic diseases the decision can be incredibly stressful. For this reason, it’s suggested that couples with a family history of genetic disorders undergo pre-implantation genetic testing to prevent them from passing on the disease to their children. Some things PGT tests for include:
- Translocations of genes, which can cause birth defects or miscarriage
- Huntingtons disease
- Marfan syndrome
- Recessive genetic diseases, like Tay-Sachs or Cystic Fibrosis
- X-linked genetic diseases
- Abnormalities in the number of chromosomes
Some patients also use PGT when they’d like to choose the sex of their child for family balancing reasons.
What if family medical history is a mystery?
Some men and women, for a variety of reasons, may not know their family medical history. Others may know the medical histories of their parents (even grandparents), but may not know of any issues with earlier generations. Because some genetic diseases are recessive, it’s possible that these individuals may carry the gene for diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis. It there are any gaps in your knowledge of your family’s medical history, conducting genetic testing on yourself can bring to light any possible genetic issues that may cause them to consider PGT.
Talk to your fertility specialist
If you have been trying unsuccessfully to achieve and carry a pregnancy, there are multiple things to consider when deciding if a specific fertility treatment is right for you. To learn more about PGT and all of your fertility treatment options, contact the fertility specialists of the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Orlando, Florida at 800-343-6331 or request an appointment.