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Nothing should prevent couples from pursuing their goal of having a child.

At PCRM, we strive to fulfill the wish of every prospective parent. For many couples experiencing infertility, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be the best option for a successful pregnancy. When it comes to aiding this process, technology allows our specialists to foresee potential problems before the embryo’s implantation.

Preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic diseases (PGT-M) is a procedure whereby embryos are assessed for single gene defects during IVF treatment. Some of the genetic disorders that can be passed down from parent to child include hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy. This testing is only available for patients who have a known genetic condition within their family or are known carriers of a genetic condition.

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for aneuploidy (PGT-A) evaluates embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. The old terminology for this testing is Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) or Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS). There are many different types of chromosome problems, but the most common, having too many or too few chromosomes, increases the risk of a failed cycle or early miscarriage. Rarely, an embryo with a chromosome problem progresses to an on-going pregnancy. One of the more common chromosome disorders seen in newborns is Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).

PGT-M and PGT-A are both offered at our Greater Vancouver, Burnaby clinic; however, no one is required to partake in either. Ultimately, opting for PGT is based on a patient’s preference and/or family history. Patients who opt for PGT-M do so as a possible safeguard against a known genetic condition within their family. PGT-A is available to any couple contemplating IVF treatments.

Once samples are collected from the embryos, results are usually available in one to two week’s time. Couples discuss the results with Diane or Jessica, PCRM’s on-site certified genetic counselors. Genetic counselors help patients understand the entire process, explain the findings, and provide insight to assist people with the decision-making process. They also offer emotional support.

Patients should be aware that PGT make no guarantees about a baby’s well-being, nor does either service preclude possible further testing, as complications can occur at any point in a baby’s development. Be advised that current technology is incapable of screening for physical traits (such as height) or complex medical conditions such as autism or early-onset diabetes.

Please note that PGT is not covered by British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan. If you have further questions about the matter, our genetic counselors are here to help.