Preimplantation diagnostics (PID) or Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is the genetic examination of an embryo at a very early stage of development. This is because genetic peculiarities can not only be the cause of fertility problems in men and women, but also the cause of severe developmental disorders in the embryo. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is one way of detecting these disorders at an early stage.
In combination with IVF treatment, PGD offers people who wish to have a child an improved chance of having a healthy baby. At the same time, the risk of a miscarriage or the need to terminate the pregnancy for genetic reasons is reduced.
In Austria, pre-implantation diagnostics has been possible in certain cases since the amendment of the Reproductive Medicine Act in 2015. We also offer this form of diagnostics in our fertility clinics in cooperation with our partner laboratories. In cases of repeated failed attempts, repeated miscarriages or severe hereditary diseases of one or both parents, the option of pre-implantation diagnostics (PGD) is available to our infertility couples.
First of all, the oocytes obtained during follicle puncture are fertilised by ICSI. They are then cultivated in the laboratory for five days until they reach the blastocyst stage. Using a laser, the embryo's envelope is opened and up to five trophectoblast cells are removed using a capillary. The biopsied embryos are then cryopreserved. The removed cells are examined in a genetic partner laboratory.
PGD can detect genetic changes that can lead to serious diseases, developmental disorders or frequent miscarriages. These are genetic changes that are either passed on from parents to their children or are caused by a pathological egg or sperm cell or by disorders in the fusion of the two.
In the so-called trophectoderm biopsy, cells of the embryo that later develop into the placenta are analysed (these cells are called "trophectoderm"). The cells that later develop into the child remain untouched during the examination. In this way, a comprehensive diagnosis of chromosomal maldistributions is possible at a very early stage of pregnancy. The advantage of this examination is that the genetic material of the father can also be checked at the same time.
In Austria, PGD on trophectoderm is only allowed under certain medical conditions:
A couple has had at least three unsuccessful embryo transfers and a genetic cause is suspected
There have been at least three miscarriages or stillbirths, the cause of which was most probably the genetic disposition of the child
There is a risk of a miscarriage or stillbirth or a severe genetic disease of the child due to the genetic disposition of at least one parent. The approval of the Scientific Committee for Gene Analysis and Gene Therapy (WAGG) must be available.
For comprehensive advice on the subject of pre-implantation diagnostics, our expert teams in the TFP fertility clinics are available to you in an initial consultation - contact us now.
Please note that in Austria, the costs of PGD are neither covered by statutory health insurance nor by the IVF fund.