PGS – Pre-implantation Genetic Screening also known as aneuploidy screening is now popularly promoted by a number of Infertility treatment centers and other testing laboratories as some kind of panacea to the couples struggling to get kids.
With infertility growing at an alarming pace (almost in 1 in 6 couples are affected atleast once ) according to recent WHO statistics and the increase in number of people coming forward to undergo expensive Infertility treatments, the push to better current success rates (both clinical pregnancy rates and take home baby rates) is gaining significant attention by care-givers.
One of the biggest unsolved challenges in Infertility treatment today is the implantation of the embryo to the woman’s uterus as modern science is still unravelling the dialogue that happens between the embryo and the uterine wall. What seems pretty sure though is that a genetically defective embryo has a very high percentage of not sticking to the uterine wall (medically called as an implantation failure) resulting in failure of clinical pregnancy for the woman. This is obviously a huge mental and emotional agony to the couple under infertility treatment, needless to say the financial agony which can be far more stressful to them.
PGS (also known as aneuploidy screening) involves checking the chromosomes of embryos conceived by IVF or ICSI for common abnormalities. Chromosomal abnormalities are a major cause of the failure of embryos to implant, and of miscarriages. They can also cause conditions such as Down’s syndrome..
What PGS procedure does is basically diagnose a possible failure point in a given embryo (amongst a pool of embryos created by the embryologist) to implant in the uterus. This paves the way for the embryologist to choose a more genetically stable embryo that can enhance the possibility of an implantation success.
If you are over 35 and have a higher risk of having a baby with a chromosome problem (such as Down’s syndrome) and/or with a family history of chromosomal problems or If you have a history of recurrent miscarriages and you have had several unsuccessful cycles of IVF where embryos have been transferred, then you should consider PGS.
PGS is hence a procedure to consider if you have the above mentioned challenges but please also note that although it can eliminate a genetically unfit embryo and possibly has the potential to enhance success rate, but it still doesn’t guarantee clinical pregnancy
PGS is definitely not a snake oil but it is something that gives a couple a little more control in their uncertain journey to parenthood.