Every expectant parent wonders if their babies are normal and healthy. The truth is that all women have a risk of a pregnancy with abnormal chromosomes, particularly if the woman is above 35 years old.
In the past, pregnant women above 35 may be tested with chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis for chromosome abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome. However, they will have to make the painful decision to either keep or stop the pregnancy when the babies are found to be abnormal.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), also known as Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) eliminates the dilemma of deciding on pregnancy termination in the event the tested fetus turns out to be abnormal, as only chromosomally normal embryos are replaced into the womb. PGD is highly recommended for women above 35, patients with inherent genetic diseases, recurrent miscarriages and IVF failures, or sexually-related diseases.
PGD is done in conjunction with an IVF cycle. With PGD, one or two cells are taken from the embryo on Day 3 or 5, and assessed for chromosomal defects that may lead to miscarriages or genetic disorders. This technique ensures only embryos that are healthy will be selected for transfer into the uterus for implantation, improving the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and the birth of a normal baby.