Frozen Embryos May Benefit From This Added Step
Just a few years ago, the process of freezing embryos was not as commonplace as it is today. For the uninitiated, an embryo forms when sperm and egg combine, eventually becoming a baby. Technology has allowed doctors to create embryos in vitro. These can be frozen for future use. However, the process is not perfect, and in some cases, a clinic will add preimplantation genetic testing or PGT.
Why freeze your embryos?
There are a few reasons behind egg freezing. During IVF, frozen embryos are perfect for future use. This process reduces the need for excess hormone medication. Today, frozen embryos also help single women or couples start families at a later time. And in some cases, the process helps delay pregnancy for medical reasons and helps same-sex couples start a family through surrogacy.
What is preimplantation genetic testing anyway?
When a sperm and egg combine to form a healthy embryo, there must be 46 chromosomes. Some fail to meet this requirement, meaning the pregnancy can fail. If the pregnancy succeeds, the baby can inherit genetic diseases. Preimplantation genetic testing is a process to verify if the embryo is healthy before implantation. This test checks for the correct number of chromosomes and hundreds of possible genetic conditions. To complete the test, a clinic takes a sample from the embryo for genetic testing under a microscope. With PGT, the clinic chooses the healthiest possible embryos for implantation.
Benefits of frozen embryo preimplantation genetic testing
Preimplantation genetic testing has a few fantastic benefits. For starters, PGT reduces miscarriages, particularly the chances of miscarriage in mothers over 40. By choosing the best for implantation, fewer cycles of IVF are necessary. Reduced cycles can lead to saved time, money, and emotional strain. One crucial part of the screening is to avoid passing on genetic conditions to the child. Overall, adding the step increases the success rate of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
Potential results of PGT
If a patient is considering this type of testing, there will be 3 possible scenarios. The hope is that the tested embryos are normal or euploid. Euploid means healthy cells with the expected number of chromosomes. Another scenario is that the embryo is abnormal or aneuploid. Aneuploid means a missing chromosome pair, extra chromosomes, or only one pair of a particular chromosome. Finally, there could be a mixed or mosaic result with both normal and abnormal cells. These have a lower chance of success but can create a healthy baby.
Are there any risks?
No medical process is perfect, and PGT is no different. The cells are sensitive, and damage during the biopsy is a common risk. This testing increases the risk of not all the embryos becoming blastocysts, leading to a failed pregnancy. However, clinics have improved the quality of the test, so the rates of damaged have reduced significantly. Another risk could be the quality of the results if the clinic does not use up-to-date technology. Make sure to ask the clinic about success rates with PGT.
PGT could be a game-changer
Frozen embryos help on multiple fronts. The process improves the efficiency of IVF cycles. And for fertile women choosing to delay pregnancy, a frozen embryo increases the success rate. If the IVF cycles or FET fails, preimplantation genetic testing can help. The process is harmless and could be the difference between success and failure. Speak with a fertility specialist to cover any concerns.