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Slideshow: The illustrated guide to preimplantation genetic screening
There’s a test that can give parents-to-be going through IVF treatment a dramatically improved chance of starting a pregnancy with a lower risk of complications, and it’s called preimplantation genetic screening.
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For couples facing fertility issues, the road from “let’s do this” to meeting their happy, healthy baby can be an emotional rollercoaster. And for many families, that process involves in-vitro fertilization treatment (IVF).
Now, there’s a test that improves the odds for parents-to-be going through IVF. And it all starts with a little math.
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A healthy pregnancy begins with a healthy embryo. One egg has 23 chromosomes; so does one sperm. A fertilized egg contains half of mom’s DNA and half of dad’s. One day after fertilization, a healthy embryo begins to form with 46 chromosomes.
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40-50% of the time (or more, depending on mom’s age), an embryo has too many or too few chromosomes, causing a miscarriage, or leading to birth defects.
In addition to those odds, couples going through IVF face other challenges. It can take multiple tries to get pregnant, at a high cost: financially, emotionally, and physically. And when doctors transfer multiple embryos to improve the chance of pregnancy, the probability of twins, triplets – or higher multiples – increases.
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In order to help identify the healthiest embryos, researchers developed Preimplantation Genetic Screening, or PGS. It’s a highly-specialized genetic test performed in collaboration with IVF clinics worldwide. The benefits are significant:
- PGS dramatically increases rates of implantation and live births
- PGS lowers many risks: the risk of miscarriage early in pregnancy, the risk of a live birth in which the baby has a chromosomal abnormality, and the risk, and costs, associated with multiple pregnancies
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Here’s how it works: The fertilized egg divides into 2 cells, then 4, then 8, and so on. By day five, there are over 100 cells. One cluster of cells will become the fetus; another, the placenta.
An embryologist uses a small tool (one-twenty-second the diameter of a human hair!) to remove a few cells from the cluster that will become the placenta.
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The collected cell sample is overnighted to a CooperGenomics lab for testing, while your embryo stays safe in the care of your clinic.
In the lab, CooperGenomics does two things. First, they make millions of copies of the DNA in those cells, so that they have plenty to examine. Then, they count the chromosomes in each sample removed from each of your developing embryos. This information is then relayed to your clinic, where you and your doctor can make a more informed decision about treatment, and can transfer a healthy embryo.
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This all means a dramatically better chance of starting a pregnancy with a lower risk of complications. It also help you identify other healthy embryos to freeze for future use.
CooperGenomics’ mission is to advance the field of reproductive genetics and empower families worldwide. In fact, they’ve already done this for tens of thousands of patients. If you’re thinking of IVF, or have already started, ask your doctor whether PGS fits your care plan. In the meantime, tap below to learn more about PGS.
This ad is brought to you by CooperGenomics