Helping couples with genetic disorders have healthy babies
There are people who long to have children but who, because of inherited genetic disorders, are concerned about passing along those genes. Many other couples may have experienced miscarriages or loss of pregnancy due to a genetic disorder. Still others seek to identify a tissue match for a sick child who can be cured with transplanted cells. For those couples, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can offer help via analysis of preembryos using PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) techniques, a technique in which we have extensive formal training. Developed in the 1980s, PGD allows screening of IVF preembryos for genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, among others, prior to embryo transfer. Screening for normal embryos results in higher rates of implantation and reduced rates of spontaneous pregnancy loss but also runs a risk that the procedure will damage the preembryo.