Pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) is a powerful tool that can in some circumstance help improve IVF success rates and reduce the risks of miscarriage. It enables our embryologists to analyse cells from embryos before they’re transferred to the womb, giving us up to a 98% chance of identifying any abnormalities. By selecting only those embryos with the correct number of chromosomes, PGT-A can sometimes help couples have a baby faster and more safely. However, the HFEA, rates PGT-A for day five embryos RED because there is no evidence as of yet, from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to show that it is effective at improving the chances of having a baby for most fertility patients.
Overview of Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT-A)
PGT-A (also known as pre-implantation genetic screening or PGS) is a sophisticated technique that can be used to analyse embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF). It allows us to check the number of chromosomes present in each cell before they’re transferred to the womb. The presence of an incorrect number of chromosomes – known as aneuploidy – can lead to implantation failure or miscarriage, so this testing helps us select viable embryos with the best chances of successful implantation and therefore pregnancy.
Benefits of PGT-A for Fertility Treatments
PGT-A testing can be beneficial for many couples undergoing IVF or similar fertility treatments. It helps to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy and can also be used to r The benefits include:
– Improved IVF success rates – by selecting only those embryos with the correct number of chromosomes, PGT-A can reduce the odds of implantation failure and miscarriage.
– Shorter time to pregnancy – PGT-A may help patients achieve their dream of having a baby faster as it eliminates embryos that are not viable from being transferred.
– Better understanding of infertility issues – In cases where there is no explanation for treatment failure, PGT-A testing can offer answers, leading to better decisions about future treatment
Who Should Consider PGT-A
PGT-A is suitable for all patients, but in particular:
– People who want to achieve a quicker route to pregnancy
– Patients who have experienced recurrent miscarriages of unknown cause or anyone who has been through previous unsuccessful IVF treatment
– A high number of people who have been in the position where they feel that their only option is to give up and then have PGT-A, in many cases they manage to have a baby
– Where the female partner is 36 years of age or older
– Patients who have had a previous child or pregnancy diagnosed with a chromosome abnormality
– Patients who produce many embryos and want to ensure transfer of an embryo of known chromosome status to optimise chances of a successful pregnancy.
How Does the PGT-A Process Work
The PGT-A process starts with a standard IVF procedure. After two to three days, the embryos are biopsied and the cells from these embryos are sent off to be analysed in a laboratory. The embryologist will then look at each cell under a microscope to assess its chromosomal makeup. This process takes up to 10 days but can sometimes take longer depending on the number of cells analysed. Once this is complete, the results will be sent back to our practice so that we can select an embryo for transfer based on its genetic profile.
What Are the Success Rates with PGT-A
PGT-A offers up to a 98% chance of identifying any chromosomal abnormalities in embryos before they are transferred. This means that couples undergoing PGT-A have an increased chance of achieving their desired outcome – a healthy pregnancy and baby. However, it is important to remember that this is not 100%, so there may still be some cases where the embryo transfer fails or results in miscarriage despite the testing having taken place.
Risks and Limitations of PGT-A
PGT-A is a very safe procedure, and the risks associated with it are minimal. However, there are some limitations to consider:
– PGT-A only tests for chromosomal abnormalities and cannot detect other genetic issues that may be present.
– The accuracy of the results can depend on the laboratory used, so careful selection should be made when choosing one.
– Accuracy declines with low numbers of cells analysed, so it’s important to select an embryologist who can collect enough cells from each embryo.
– PGT-A does not guarantee a successful pregnancy as there may still be other factors at play that this test cannot detect.
Frequently Asked Questions About PGT-A and Fertility Treatment
Q: How often should I do PGT-A?
A: It is recommended that PGT-A be done for each cycle of IVF treatment. This is because the chromosomal makeup of embryos can change from one cycle to the next, and so it’s important to assess them in each new cycle.
Q: Does PGT-A guarantee a successful pregnancy?
A: No, PGT-A does not guarantee a successful pregnancy as there may still be other factors at play that this test cannot detect. However, it can increase the chances of achieving a successful outcome by eliminating any embryos with chromosomal abnormalities.
Q: Is there an age limit on when I should do PGT-A?
A: Generally, it is recommended that patients aged 36 or over should consider PGT-A as they have a higher risk of producing embryos with chromosomal abnormalities. This is because the chances of chromosomal abnormalities increase with female age.
Q: What if the results come back abnormal?
A: If the results come back abnormal, this does not mean that you cannot fall pregnant using IVF. It simply means that you need to select an embryo for transfer which does not have any chromosomal abnormality. The embryologist can help in selecting such an embryo from those available.
More information about PGT-A Genetic Testing can be found on the HFEA (Human Fertilisation & Embryology Association)