What Embryonic Genetic Testing Can (and Can’t) Tell Us
Embryonic genetic testing is fast becoming a standard part of infertility treatment. What can genetic testing of embryos tell us? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Dr. Mark Evans, medical director at Comprehensive Genetics and Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
Hit the Highlights
- Premimplantation Genetic Testing of embryos in IVF
- Let’s get our terminology straight at the beginning. PGS, PGD, CCS. What do these mean and what is the difference?
- What is the latest in genetic screening? Is it still CCS?
- What kinds of things can you test for? Is there a list? Do you pick and choose what to test for or is it all just included? Or is it more based on a potential risk assessment given family med history? And if so, what would you do for a person who didn’t know their full family med history (adoptees, people who don’t know/have lost touch with one of their parents, etc.)
- What is the cost? This is a real issue for patients.
- Under what circumstances is health insurance more likely to cover the cost of genetic testing of embryos?
- What is the research showing for how effective genetic testing is for reducing miscarriage and increasing implantation and pregnancy rates?
- How often do false positives and false negatives occur?
- I recently read an article in the NY Times about mosaic embryos (those with both normal and abnormal cells) and the controversy over whether or not to transfer them – especially if they are the only embryos someone has. Some normal births have resulted, but there are still a lot of questions about the ethics of transferring potentially abnormal embryos. What kind of work is being done to sharpen these screenings to account for situations like this?
- Is there a framework in place for patients who – either because these are the only embryos they have or because they have particular moral/religious beliefs – want to transfer these embryos?
- What does the research say about percentage of mosaic blastocysts that self-correct, pushing the abnormal cells to the tropectoderm layer?
- Genetic Testing After Conception but Before Birth
- What techniques are currently available for prenatal genetic testing?
- Maternal blood tests for genetic testing.
- What things can you test for?
- What is known about testing results which show mosaic chromosomes?
- Risks of these tests for miscarriage
- Confusing test results
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Image credit: Håkan Dahlström
Show originally aired in 2016.