Whether you’re new to fertility treatments or an IVF veteran, chances are good that you’re familiar with Preimplantation Genetic Testing, more commonly known as PGT. PGT is a genetic screening test that can be performed on embryos created through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Its purpose is to analyze the genetic material of the embryos to determine whether or not they have an incorrect number of chromosomes or aneuploidy.
In addition to standard PGT for aneuploidy (PGT-A), there are enhanced offerings that IVF patients can now consider. But are these additional options right for your family? And if so, how can you decide which genetic testing lab is going to give you the best chance at bringing home a baby?
Who Should Consider PGT and How It Works
A common reason that embryo transfers are unsuccessful is an incorrect number of chromosomes in the embryo, which reduces the odds of pregnancy and increases the risk of miscarriage. This is why PGT testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) is the most common type of PGT testing for individuals and couples undergoing IVF.
Those with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) and women aged 35 and over are good candidates for PGT-A. Couples at risk of passing on an inherited genetic disease, like cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia, Fragile X syndrome, and more, should consider PGT for Monogenic Disorders (PGT-M).
It’s important to note that IVF is a requirement for PGT testing, as genetic samples from embryos must be obtained in a lab.
Advances In PGT Testing
So, we’ve talked about PGT-A and PGT-M, but as fertility science continues to advance, it’s possible to use advanced types of PGT.
PGT-A+ is an enhanced test offered by LifeView that determines the origin of an embryo’s chromosome abnormality. Yes, you heard that right: it can tell you whether the chromosomal abnormality comes from the sperm, the egg, or the embryo. Pretty cool, huh?
PGT-A+ is done in conjunction with PGT-A and does not require another biopsy of the embryo. It does, however, require saliva samples from the patient, partner, and/or gamete donor. It has an accuracy rate of 98-99%. To learn more, visit LifeView.
Embryo Health Score
LifeView Embryo Health Score goes even further than PGT-A+ testing and screens an embryo’s lifetime risk for polygenic disorders. The Embryo Health Score uses a combination of genetic variants to calculate the chances of inherited conditions such as diabetes, cancers, schizophrenia, or heart disease in your future child(ren). Pretty amazing, right?
The Embryo Health Score allows your family and your medical professional to compare overall disease risks among embryos and decide which embryo to prioritize for transfer. The obvious benefit of the Embryo Health Score is to reduce the risk of disease by up to 72% for some conditions, especially if you’re concerned about inherited conditions based on personal or family history.
Here's how it works:
After you talk to your doctor about using the LifeView Embryo Health Score, a client specialist will work closely with your IVF team to address your specific needs. The embryos will be created through an IVF cycle, and a small sample from each embryo will be sent for analysis. Genetic Counselors and an IVF nurse are always available to discuss your results.
According to recently published data, embryos selected and transferred based on the Embryo Health Score had a 71% success rate, which was similar to the success rate of traditional methods of selecting embryos by morphology only (62%).
Choosing the Right PGT Lab
It can be easy to go with the first genetic testing lab your fertility clinic recommends; however, not all of them are created equal. LifeView’s™ Embryo Health Score is the first validated test on the market, and its team is exceptionally qualified.
LifeView deploys an innovative, high-throughput SNP array-based platform that performs far better than traditional Next Generation Sequencing (NGS):
Higher pregnancy rates: 62% vs. 50% with traditional NGS*
Reduced loss rate: 8% vs. 23% with traditional NGS*
Higher resolution: 1.6 million data points vs. 20,000 data points with traditional NGS
Improved accuracy: Combines copy number analysis and genotyping
No more mosaics: Higher accuracy enables actual euploid and aneuploid reporting; PGT-A+ provides the origin of aneuploidy
Polyploidy and UPID identified: Both male and female polyploidy detection available
You’re Doing PGT: Should You Take Another Look?
PGT technologies are constantly evolving to be more accurate, more affordable, and provide additional information to give you the best possible chances of bringing home a healthy baby. Opportunities like PGT-A+ and the Embryo Health Score can offer you and your family increased peace of mind if you and your trusted medical professional(s) decide PGT is right for you.
Brighid Flynn is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia where she lives with her husband and puppy. She is just beginning her journey toward motherhood.