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Los Angeles Times Examines Whether PGD Improves IVF Outcomes

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, April 30, 2007 | 0 comments

The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined whether preimplantation genetic diagnosis -- a procedure that allows physicians to identify embryos without genetic defects or chromosomal abnormalities and then transfer the embryos most likely to result in a live, healthy infant -- improves pregnancy outcomes for women undergoing vitro fertilization. According to the Times, use of PGD has "risen exponentially" since it became available in 1990.

Although the procedure is not formally tracked, a report from the Genetics & Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University found that in 2005 about 3,000 PGD procedures were performed in the U.S., and experts estimate that the frequency of PGD is increasing by 15% to 30% annually. Most fertility experts agree that the procedure is "valuable" to use to prevent transmission of "serious inherited disorders," but many experts say there is a lack of evidence that it improves IVF success rates for older women.

According to the Times, a Belgian study published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction found no improvement in full-term pregnancy rates among 150 women ages 37 and older who underwent PGD, compared with a similar number of women who did not undergo the procedure.

A study presented by Richard Scott, founder and managing partner of Reproductive Medicine Associates, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in October 2006 reported that pregnancy rates were the same for embryos that had undergone PGD and those that had not.

According to the Times, PGD, which adds about $3,000 to the cost of IVF, cannot increase the number of viable embryos transferred during a procedure, and many physicians are hesitant to transfer embryos diagnosed as abnormal during PGD. Some fertility experts are unsure whether conducting PGD could later cause harm to the embryo, but there is not much evidence to support the concern, the Times reports.

Many experts say that the procedure primarily "makes sense" for women who have had multiple miscarriages while undergoing IVF, according to the Times. According to recent surveys, about two-thirds of PGD procedures are being performed to determine whether embryos created by couples with fertility problems have abnormal chromosome counts (Goldman, Los Angeles Times, 4/23).

Reprinted with permission from .

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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