Getting Acquainted With PGD Testing in Gestational Surrogacy

Victoria Ferrara

7/7/16

The world of assistive reproductive technology (ART) continues to evolve and improve the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and childbirth through in vitro fertilization (IVF). While IVF makes having children an option for people who are reproductively challenged, it is not always a guaranteed success. For intended parents working with a gestational surrogate, PGD testing may increase the chances for a successful IVF cycle and birth of a child.

What is PGD Testing?
PGD is the acronym for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. It refers to testing done on an IVF fertilized embryo to identify any potential genetic defects before it is transplanted into the uterus. This testing is only an option with IVF. Benefits of PGD testing include: identifying embryos without genetic diseases; time to consider the impact that a genetically inherent disease may present later in the child's life; and increasing the chance for a healthy, successful pregnancy.

How Does PGD Occur?
During PGD testing, one or two cells are removed from the IVF fertilized embryo prior to being transplanted. The cells are then tested to identify any chromosomal abnormalities or genetic defects. Any embryos identified with genetic defects can be removed from the process. Those that test healthy can either be transferred into the uterus or frozen for future IVF cycle

What Can Be Detected With PGD?
PGD testing can detect several genetically inherited conditions. While genetic mutations may still occur once the embryo is transplanted, it is an excellent screening procedure to increase the chance for a successful pregnancy and a healthy child. In addition to detecting genetic diseases, PGD testing can also identify the gender of the embryo. 

Where Are the Best Places to Get PGD?
PGD testing is done at an IVF clinic. It is important to find an IVF clinic with high success rates and large client numbers. Bear in mind that PGD testing is still relatively new and not a perfect science. While it may contribute to an increased chance of a successful pregnancy and healthy child, it is not a guarantee. Talk to the IVF clinic to learn about their experiences and success stories, as well as any challenges or limitations they have faced.

What Are the Estimated Costs Associated with PGD?
PGD testing is not incorporated in a typical round of IVF. It is an additional cost of roughly $4,000.00 to $7,500.00. While it is a considerable additional cost and might not be an option for all intended parents, it may be worth considering or discussing with the IVF doctor if it is a financial option.

What Role Does PGD Play in Gestational Surrogacy?
PGD testing can benefit all parties involved in a gestational surrogacy. One of the benefits is identifying embryos that stand a better chance of survival, increasing the potential for a full-term pregnancy. PGD testing will also open the door for intended parents and the surrogate to discuss if, or when, terminating the fetus would be acceptable. Proceeding with PGD testing will help the surrogacy agency match intended parents with a surrogate who shares the same beliefs about ethically sensitive topics. The option to conduct PGD testing to improve the chances for a successful IVF cycle through gestational surrogacy is something worth considering.

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