Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis
Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) involves tried and tested assisted conception techniques which are safe, reliable and ethically sound. In-vitro fertilisation is now widely accepted and this forms the basis of our gender selection programme.
What is PGD?
Two days after fertilisation, embryos consist of eight cells and are the size of this full stop. Science is now so advanced, that at this stage, it is possible to safely remove a single cell, analyse it for a range of gender-specific chromosomal disorders and ensure only unaffected embryos are implanted in the womb. This specialist technique is called Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
A single cell, carrying material used to support the foetus’s development, is removed from the embryo and its chromosome structure is analysed in carefully controlled laboratory conditions, with the X and Y chromosomes clearly distinguishable. The removal of a single cell does not damage the embryo’s development in any way, and each embryo will continue to grow normally.
Who can benefit from PGD?
- Couples wanting to balance their family
- Either one of a couple carrying a single gene defect, by testing for specific genetic disorders
- Women aged 35+, by testing for age-related chromosomal disorders
- Younger women with repeated unexplained miscarriages, by testing for chromosomal disorders
- Those seeking ovarian donation with PGD
Babies born with chromosome abnormalities occur in
- 1 in 1,000 births in women aged 30 or younger
- 1 in 350 births by 35
- 1 in 100 births by 40
- and ultimately 1 in 25 births by 45.
The purpose of PGD is to select only healthy embryos (for the chromosomes we can so far test for) for implantation in the hope of achieving more pregnancies, less spontaneous miscarriages and less affected offspring.