- Understanding genetics
- What is PGT-A?
- The PGT-A Process
- Who is Appropriate for PGT-A?
- Benefits of PGT-A
How can we improve the IVF success rate? Is one of the commonly asked questions during a fertility consultation especially when couples are undergoing IVF.
The success rate of IVF depends on various factors including a woman’s age, fertility diagnosis, the number of quality embryos produced, implantation rate, and much more.
Pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A) formerly known as PGS-Pre-implantation genetic screening is a genetic test used alongside IVF to improve the chances of IVF success and healthy on-going pregnancy.
Before we talk about anything else, let’s understand a bit about genetics and embryos.
- Human DNA contains chromosomes which are protein structures that carry genetic information. Normally, human embryos have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
- Each embryo has a perfectly matched set of 23 chromosome pairs added up to 46 chromosomes where one copy of each chromosome pair is inherited from mother and father.
- An embryo with an unmatched set of chromosomes or anomalies in chromosomes is called aneuploidy
- Aneuploidy is responsible for the majority of 1st-trimester miscarriages and has been shown to be one of the major causes of infertility as well as IVF failure. Chromosomal abnormalities can occur in women of all ages nevertheless, the chances are greater with increasing maternal age.
- Most chromosomal anomalies are leading to miscarriages, implantation failure, and the rest of them are associated with genetic disorders such as down syndrome.
What is PGT-A?
PGT-A—Pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidies involves screening of cells from embryos to determine whether they contain any chromosomal abnormalities and know about genetic health.
This testing is often performed with IVF and done prior to embryo transfer and PGT-A offers at-risk couples the opportunity to choose ideal embryos for transfer.
The goal of this test is to identify and ignore the chromosomally abnormal embryos and to select the best embryo (unaffected embryo with a normal number of chromosomes) for transfer thereby increasing the chances of a successful conception and more likely to make healthy babies.
The PGT-A Process
The fertility doctor will take a detailed fertility history and suggest fertility tests to check whether IVF is suitable for the couple or not, if yes, then PGT-A will be discussed. The couple needs to undergo the same kind of tests that are required for an IVF cycle.
Blood samples will be drawn from you and your partner in order to make DNA probes from which the cells are tested. A genetic counselor will answer all questions related to treatment, discuss your specific case, the PGT-A procedure, and your options.
PGT-A is performed in conjunction with IVF and patients have to go through ovarian hyperstimulation, egg retrieval, and IVF in order to produce the maximum number of embryos that further can be evaluated. Sometimes ICSI may be required.
Embryo Biopsy & Cell Preparation:
A few cells are removed from the embryos at the blastocyst stage of development on the 5th or 6th day of culture. Embryos that have not developed during blastocyst culture can’t be used for PGT. Later the biopsied cells are transferred to a small tube for PGT-A analysis. After the biopsy is performed the embryologists will evaluate the results and separate healthy embryos and abnormal ones. The embryos are vitrified/frozen and stored for later transfer.
Using cutting-edge technologies the embryologists analyze the biopsied cells to identify the genetic disorders or the mutant gene sequence. Also, to screen the sequence of all 22 pairs of chromosomes.
The embryologist and physician review the PGT results with the patients. The selected and cryopreserved embryo is thawed and then assisted hatching is performed. Assisted hatching allows the embryo to free itself from the protective shell called zona pellucida which fosters implantation.
The embryo is transferred to the uterine cavity through ultrasound to maximize implantation efficiency. The fertility specialist can confidently choose to transfer just a single embryo at a time, to help reduce the risks associated with multiple gestation.
While successful pregnancy cannot be guaranteed, in general around 60-70% success rate may be expected based on individual circumstances related to having PGT-A.
Who is Appropriate for PGT-A?:
PGT-A can be offered to couples who have a higher chance of having chromosomal anomalies in their embryos and PGT is a good option for those:
- who have had recurrent implantation failures
- Women who had multiple miscarriages
- Couples with multiple failed IVF cycles
- Women with advanced maternal age (over 35)
- Concerned about having a child without any genetic disorders
Benefits of PGT-A:
- Increased IVF success
- Higher Pregnancy rates per transfer
- Reduced risk of miscarriage
- Fewer cycles of IVF treatment needed
- Greater chance of having a healthy child
MotherToBe uses the most advanced genomic tests and cutting edge technology that provides reliable results with better detection and guaranteeing the transfer of a genetically-normal embryo.
For many couples, IVF with PGT-A helps increase their odds of having a successful IVF cycle. PGT-A has been becoming a normal part of IVF that helps patients with severe conditions realize their dreams of having a healthy baby.
If you would like to learn more about how PGT-A could give you a quicker path to pregnancy or you want to know what are your possible options, consult our experienced fertility specialists.
Best fertility specialist in Hyderabad—Combining compassionate care with advanced reproductive medicine!
MotherToBe is the leading fertility center in Hyderabad led by internationally acclaimed fertility expert Dr. Vyjayanthi. She is a board-certified embryologist and surgeon, Dr. Vyjayanthi has devoted more than two decades to holistic fertility care and the practice of assisted reproductive technologies. A recognized IVF specialist who has raised the standard of IVF care through her specialization in reproductive medicine, advocacy, and best-practice clinical care.