If you’re investing the time, energy, and expense required for fertility treatments, increasing your odds of having a healthy baby with genetic testing is worth it.
Diagnosing infertility and personalizing fertility treatments depends on our access to every piece of information possible. This is why we do such thorough infertility testing on both female and male partners, and why we encourage the use of genetic testing. Ultimately, genetic testing provides another piece of the puzzle, and is often the only information we have to illuminate potential issues with egg quality.
There are several ways to take advantage of both preconception and pre-implantation genetic screening to improve your chances of having a successful full-term pregnancy and a healthy baby.
To start, we recommend having genetic testing done before trying to get pregnant. These tests can be done by your general physician, OB/GYN, or fertility specialist. And the good news is they are typically free or a minimal cost if you have health insurance.
First, we use a blood test to see if the mother’s DNA is a carrier for a chromosomal or genetic condition. This is because many of the most common single-gene abnormalities are carried by the mother or require both parents to have the recessive gene to pass it on to their child. If a mother tests positive, we will test the male partner and see if he is also a carrier.
Genetic testing provides information about the chances of having a baby born with a chromosomal or genetic disorder so you can plan accordingly. If you’ve had recurring miscarriages, finding out you’re a carrier may explain why since the large majority of miscarriages are the result of chromosome or gene disorders.
We encourage IVF patients to consider preimplantation genetic testing, especially if individuals or couples are 40 years old or older, have known disorders in their family history, or depending on their personal reproductive history.
These tests allow us to determine whether the resulting fertilized egg and developing blastocyst test positive for some of the most common chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. We use three different types of PGT:
The results of these tests help couples make more informed choices when selecting which embryos to transfer, avoiding any that test positive for specific disorders or mutations. We believe these tests improve IVF outcomes and provide information that further personalizes – and optimizes – fertility treatment plans.
Genetic testing is an essential part of the infertility testing and diagnosis equation. Individuals and couples with higher chances of conceiving a child with chromosomal or genetic abnormalities deserve the right to know that before spending tens of thousands of dollars on IVF cycles that are less likely to yield successful outcomes. Every piece of information we learn through infertility and genetic testing inform the personalized IVF protocols we recommend for each patient.
When a more-than-average number of embryos test positive for genetic or chromosomal disorders, individuals and couples can begin discussing alternatives. Examples include the use of donor sperm, eggs, or embryos. For example, if a woman 45 years or older has a higher-than-normal number of embryos testing positive for chromosomal abnormalities, the use of a donor egg dramatically increases our odds of embryo implantation and a full-term pregnancy. This is because she benefits from the same success rates associated with the egg donor’s age bracket.
Along those same lines, couples with dual or multiple infertility factors (both partners have an infertility factor) may benefit from using donor embryos. These embryos are lovingly donated by couples who’ve been where you are, and want their embryos to be used to help others rather than being thawed/discarded or donated to science.
When you’re making the investment in fertility treatments, it makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to increase your odds of a healthy baby. Genetic testing is one of those opportunities.
Schedule a consultation with Fertility Solutions to learn more about fertility testing and how it might be the key to your IVF treatment success.