Understanding Mosaic Embryos

What do you need to know about mosaic embryos? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility education and support nonprofit, interviews Erin Armenti, Board Certified genetic counselor at CooperGenomics, with a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling; and Dr. Alan Martinez a Reproductive Endocrinologist at the Reproductive Science Center of NJ.

Hit the Highlights
  • What are mosaic embryos?
  • What percentage of cells has to be abnormal for an embryo to be called mosaic?
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine published an opinion on embryo screening March in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
  • How does mosaicism in embryos occur?
  • How common are mosaic embryos?
  • Are they more common with IVF than conceptions that occur naturally?
  • Is mosaicism more common with older mothers?
  • Why are we hearing about mosaic embryos now when we haven’t heard of them in the past?
  • Do different labs have different ways of defining a mosaic embryo?
  • Some labs don’t report mosaic—they classify them as abnormal and we hear that some clinics want labs to provide results as either normal or abnormal and won’t accept results from lab that say mosaic.
  • Can you be perfectly healthy and still have mosaic cells in your body?
  • How reliable is pre-implantation genetic screening? You are sampling cells from the very outside which will become the placenta. Is that representative of the cells that will form the baby or fetus?
  • What percentage of the time will a mosaic embryo produce a chromosomally healthy baby? 40%
  • What happens to the embryo when it does not “self-correct”? Implantation failure? Miscarriage or stillbirth? Birth defects?
  • Do we know what is the mechanism by which a mosaic embryo turns into a normal embryo (“self-correct”)?
  • Why do some infertility doctors refuse to transfer a mosaic embryo?
  • How do you counsel someone with a mosaic embryo? What factors do they need to be aware of?
  • Why would someone consider transferring a mosaic embryo?
  • Are pregnancies that result from the transfer of a mosaic embryo considered a high risk pregnancy?
  • Should patients who have mosaic embryos freeze them or discard them?
  • Is it necessary or useful to report to the child’s pediatrician that they were conceived with an embryo that had mosaicism?

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Image credit: Kevin Harber