What is IVF?
In short, IVF falls under the umbrella of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The process first involves extracting eggs from the hopeful mother and a sperm sample from the father. From there, a lab will fertilize the eggs with the sperm to create an embryo. The mature embryo is then implanted into the mother’s womb and monitored for pregnancy. IVF strategies can be varied and may include techniques like ICSI, assisted hatching, donor eggs, or donor sperm.
A closer look at embryos
During the IVF process, some couples may decide on embryo screening. Embryo screening, also called pre-implantation genetic screening, seeks to uncover any abnormalities that can prevent a successful pregnancy. Of course, all embryos aren’t perfect, even with a natural pregnancy. Screening allows the clinic to choose the healthiest embryos for implantation. About 3 days after fertilization, the clinic takes a sample to test for chromosomal abnormalities or over 400 specific conditions and diseases. Here are 4 reasons to consider embryo screening during IVF.
1. There is a known genetic condition in the family
Some hopeful parents are concerned about passing on a particular genetic disease to the child. One or both parents may have a history of a specific disease or condition. In some cases, the parents may be fine, but a condition may run in the family. Embryo screening helps to minimize the chances of having a child with a specific disease. The fertility clinic will only use embryos with the best option of a healthy baby.
2. You’ve had multiple miscarriages in the past
Multiple pregnancy loss is often the reason women or couples choose IVF. However, women who’ve suffered from multiple miscarriages are at risk of another during IVF. Most cases of multiple miscarriages stem from genetic abnormalities. One or both partners can pass on a chromosomal abnormality that prevents the healthy development of the baby. Genetic screening both confirms this problem and provides the embryos with the best chance of success.
3. Age is more than a number
With age, the chances of a successful pregnancy decrease significantly. There is a higher chance for genetic problems, especially over age 40. Eggs may have an abnormal number of chromosomes or diminished quality. The same goes for men, as sperm quality can decrease with age. Embryo screening helps older patients easily navigate the IVF process.
4. It increases your chances of success
Overall, embryo screening increases the success rate of IVF. The data allows the fertility clinic to select the best embryos for implantation. In addition, studies show that embryo screening can increase the chances of a healthy birth. Clinics recommend embryo screening, especially if the couple has faced failed IVF cycles in the past.
A critical extra step
For most couples, embryo screening is by no means mandatory. However, this extra step could make all the difference. If a couple has a known genetic condition or has faced failed pregnancies in the past, screening can help. Speak with the fertility specialist about any concerns regarding genetic disorders. The team will provide guidance and expertise to help couples make the right choice. In short, genetic screening could be the answer.