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Understanding PGS Options

When our patients undergo fertility treatment, their paramount concern is a healthy baby. Although we cannot guarantee any outcomes, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) allows us to transfer genetically normal embryos to a woman’s uterus. In our New Jersey fertility center, Dr. Jane Millersees PGS as an essential intervention for specific patient populations, including those with repeated miscarriages, recurrent in-vitro fertilization (IVF) implantation failure and advanced maternal age.

Our New Jersey fertility doctor explains common causes of spontaneous miscarriage and IVF failure

Generally, miscarriages and IVF failures arise because of chromosomal aneuploidy that result when an embryo has missing or extra chromosomes. Some embryos may carry translocations, which are mutations that occur when a portion of one chromosome breaks off and “trades places” with a part of another chromosome. For a woman to have a successful pregnancy, the embryo must be euploid, or have a balanced number of chromosomes.

When a couple undergoes an IVF procedure, we have two options for choosing which embryo (or embryos) to transfer to the woman’s uterus. The first option involves looking at the embryo’s morphology, form and cell number; the second option employs PGS to identify which embryos are genetically normal.

Dr. Miller describes embryo development and evaluation for IVF

After we retrieve the eggs and inseminate them with the sperm, the resulting embryos are cultured for 5 or 6 days in the laboratory. Embryos labeled as having excellent “morphology” have the following traits:

  • contain between 60 and 80 cells
  • display two distinct groups of cells: the stem cells that form a discreet mass in the middle and the surrounding trophectoderm cells

Typically, Dr. Miller recommends that one, or two at the most, of these embryos be transferred to the woman’s uterus. (Any remaining high quality embryos can be frozen.) Although these top grade embryos may look “perfect,” between 50-60% of them are genetically abnormal and will not produce the desired outcome.

PGS provides definitive details about embryo health

As a trained fertility specialist, Dr. Miller views the addition of PGS to IVF treatment as a transformative development in the arena of infertility medicine.

With the addition of PGS, we have the ability to evaluate all 23 pairs of an embryo’s chromosomes to help a couple select which embryos are most likely to result in a successful pregnancy. To evaluate the embryo, the highest quality embryos are biopsied on day 5 or day 6 of development.

Next, a laser is used to carefully remove five to eight cells from the surrounding trophectoderm, and the embryos are then frozen. The cells are sent to one of several leading genetics laboratories for PGS analysis.

In 7 to 10 days, Dr. Miller will receive the results, which she will use to identify the chromosomally normal embryos appropriate for transfer back to the uterus. Through the PGS process, we can significantly improve our patient’s chances for a healthy, successful pregnancy. Additionally, we can also reduce the risks of miscarriage and implantation failure, as well as confidently recommend single embryo transfer.

As a trained fertility specialist, Dr. Miller views the addition of PGS to IVF treatment as a transformative development in the arena of infertility medicine. Dr. Miller encourages all prospective patients to visit our New Jersey fertility center and discuss this revolutionary procedure in detail. Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation appointment.