Why are chromosomes important?

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You’ve probably heard that your baby’s chromosomes determine their sex, but they can actually tell you a lot more. First, let’s break down what chromosomes are.

What are chromosomes and what can they tell us?

Chromosomes are the structures that contain our genetic material, similar to the way that book covers contain the pages of a book. Each chromosome contains vital instructions for growth, which show embryos how to grow into beautiful babies.

Healthy embryos typically have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell. When an embryo’s chromosomal numbers are off, like when there are three of one chromosome instead of two, a failed pregnancy can occur or a child may be born with genetic disease.

What do chromosomal numbers mean?

Chromosomal numbers indicate whether embryos are euploid, mosaic, or aneuploid.

Euploid embryos have 23 pairs of chromosomes and usually lead to a viable pregnancy. If you’re going through IVF, euploid embryos are the highest priority embryos to transfer.

Mosaic embryos have some cells with a normal number of chromosomes and some with an abnormal number. They’re less likely to result in a successful pregnancy, but may be considered during IVF if no euploid embryos are available.

Aneuploid embryos have an abnormal number of chromosomes and are unlikely to lead to a successful pregnancy, so are not recommended for transfer during IVF.

How do I count my baby’s chromosomes?

Most people can get a chromosomal count during their first trimester of pregnancy, but people undergoing IVF can actually get a count before they even transfer an embryo with a test called preimplantation genetic screening (PGS).

PGS is a genetic test that determines the health of embryos by categorizing them as euploid, mosaic, or aneuploid. PGS assesses the chromosomal health of embryos before transfer to determine which embryo is most likely to lead to a successful pregnancy, with the goal of improving your chance of achieving a healthy pregnancy through IVF.

PGS is appropriate for the majority of IVF patients, especially for older soon-to-be moms and those with a history of miscarriage. PGS can reduce time to pregnancy, which means fewer IVF cycles and a higher chance of pregnancy success.

Tap below to learn more about your baby’s chromosomes with PGS from our partners at CooperGenomics, the leaders in PGS.

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