This is How Genetic Screening (PGS) Really Works

When you’re struggling with infertility, there are a lot of unknowns: Why can’t we get pregnant? When will we finally have our baby? Our goal at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, is to answer those questions, so you can then focus on more important things. For instance, once we help you achieve a pregnancy, you may go on to wonder what traits you’ll pass on to your newborn—from eye color to smile to personality to genetic conditions, even.

In some of these cases, the answers are available before your baby is even born, and that’s where preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) comes in. PGS can be used to identify a variety of gene or chromosome disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and muscular dystrophy. It’s done in conjunction with an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle; once eggs are fertilized, the resulting embryos are developed and then genetically tested to identify those that may have inherited a genetic mutation and those that didn’t.

While PGS doesn’t necessarily boost your chances of conception, it is a very valuable infertility solution since it helps us identify specific abnormalities that could cause a miscarriage or result in your child being born with any number of conditions. That means if you or your partner potentially carry a genetic mutation, PGS can help us minimize the risk of passing that to your baby.

We know there are many couples who have questions about PGS, so we’re sharing what you really need to know.

Decide If PGS Is Right for You
Preimplantation genetic screening isn’t necessary for every patient. However, if you know your family’s medical history includes any genetic abnormalities or other potentially-inherited conditions, then PGS might be an option to consider. Knowledge about your medical history and genetics allows us to recommend screenings and treatments to help you on your pregnancy journey, and also helps you to make an informed decision on how you’d like to move forward with procedures.

Make sure you know the histories of your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews for a clear picture of your medical story. If you can’t access or don’t know your family’s history, PGS can give you information as to what you may be passing on to your future children.

How PGS Works
The initial stages of PGS are the same as a typical IVF procedure. Our team retrieves the eggs, and once they’re fertilized and become embryos, they go through the PGS process. We freeze them so we can perform a biopsy and identify any abnormality. Only the embryos that have been identified as normal, and free of any genetic or chromosomal disorder, are then transferred to the uterus to finish up the IVF cycle.

The Impact of PGS
Of course, PGS gives your baby the greatest chance of growing up to become a healthy child, but the greater impact is far-reaching and can affect many generations to come. Because we’re able to prevent your baby from inheriting a family disorder, we are theoretically removing the risk from the future gene pool. So, not only will your children be less likely to develop that genetic disease, but so would their children, and so on.

Our team at AZCREI has helped many couples have healthy, happy babies because of preimplantation genetic screening. We’ve seen their joy and relief knowing their baby will be unaffected by a chromosomal or genetic disorder that has afflicted their family for generations. We understand how confusing and overwhelming dealing with infertility and growing your family can be, but we hope that knowing your baby will have a healthy start will give you some peace of mind. To set up a consultation, contact us online or call (520) 326-0001.