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Couples seeking fertility treatments around the world are also taking advantage of a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (or PGD), a method that allows fertility experts to study the DNA found in eggs and sperm prior to insemination procedures. The PGD process tests embryos for genetic disorders prior to fertilization. The technology has been utilized since the late 1980s, enabling fertility experts to test embryos for genetic diseases before implantation into the uterus.
DNA contains elements such as chromosomes, which provide the foundation or building block instructions for human development. Studying the DNA of sperm and eggs prior to implantation is beneficial in identifying genetic defects or deficiencies that often lead to hereditary or genetic defects causing sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease. This careful study enables prospective parents to make decisions regarding their pregnancy, and informs them in advance if their eggs or sperm carry genetic markers that contain deformities or disease conditions.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD diagnostics are utilized in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). The process utilizes several steps,,including the stimulation of the woman’s ovaries, achieved through hormone treatments that stimulate production of eggs. The woman’s eggs are then retrieved and fertilized through IVF (in-vitro fertilization) or ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) techniques. During the process, an embryo biopsy culls a small number of cells are taken from the embryo for examination, and the developing embryo remains in an incubator while the cells are examined. Following analysis and examination seeking any sign of chromosomal abnormalities or genetic abnormalities of DNA sequences in the eggs, the fertility expert and prospective parents can make educated and informed decisions regarding implantation of the growing embryo.
PGD procedures are commonly performed in women over the age of 35, as the older a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the more likely she may produce offspring with genetic conditions such as Downs Syndrome. This is especially recommended when women older than 35 are using their own eggs for fertility treatments, in-vitro fertilization and other fertility methods. Couples who have experienced multiple miscarriages are also excellent candidates for this procedure, as well as parents who have genetic deformities, conditions or diseases themselves and concerned about passing disease or conditions to their offspring.
Couples often seek specialists who are members of endocrinologist organizations or technologies. Fertility experts around the world offer PGD with fertility treatments with positive results, including locations in Latin America (including Mexico, Central and South America), as well as major cities in India, Singapore and Thailand. Central European locations such as Turkey, Romania and Ukraine offer treatments, as do locations in Greece and Jordan.