PGD is a diagnostic procedure during which embryos are examined for genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, thalassemia and trisomy 21. This diagnostic measure is possible only as part of an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, since the procedure for extracting the cells (required for the analysis) from an embryo can only be done in a test tube.
PGD is a voluntary examination that can be carried out during IVF. This test may be used when it is known that there are certain severe hereditary diseases or chromosomal anomalies in a family. The genetic composition of the embryos grown in the test tube is examined before implantation to prevent the possibility of subsequent abortion of a diseased embryo.
Shortly after the in vitro fertilisation, when the embryos are in the stage in which they consist of approximately eight cells, cells are extracted from each of them in the laboratory (embryo biopsy) and individually examined for anomalies. Only the embryos identified as healthy will remain in the embryo culture to be transferred into the uterus later.
PGD is mainly done to avoid serious hereditary diseases and chromosomal anomalies (e.g. incorrect orders sequencing or double chromosomes). Up to 200 different diseases and anomalies can now be established through PGD.
PGD is now widely accepted when it concerns excluding the risk of serious hereditary diseases. In many cases, PGD not only excludes illness or disability in a baby but is actually responsible for a pregnancy occurring at all – such as when a couple has previously suffered recurrent miscarriages due to a genetic defect. The general legal conditions differ significantly from country to country. Our doctors will gladly advise you of your options.