Dr Gautam Allahbadia

What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis ?

PGD Testing: How the technique helps remove obstacles from path of parenthood

Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) like IVF treatment is considered to be a blessing for women who desire the joy of motherhood but are unable to attain it naturally. However, the purpose and utility of ARTs are not limited to aiding conception; it also includes screening the embryos for genetic abnormalities and ensuring the birth of a healthy child – which apparently would be a major concern for couples looking to conceive a child.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

A testing procedure, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis does pretty much what the name suggests and is advisable when either of the parents has been diagnosed with a genetic abnormality. The embryos are subjected to testing in order to determine if they are carriers of the genetic abnormality before implantation. The primary goal here is to increase the chances of selecting a healthy embryo that would, in turn, develop into a healthy baby.

According to the leading IVF specialist from MMC IVF, Dubai; Dr. Gautam Allahbadia, these advances can make a real difference as birth defects occur in nearly one in 20 pregnancies.

“These defects range in severity from minor anatomic abnormalities to extensive genetic disorders, including mental retardation. PGD is a breakthrough technique in detecting these disorders and transferring only the healthy embryos,” Dr. Allahbadia says.

Dr Gautam Allahbadia

PGD technique provides information about the gene make-up of the cells found in an embryo. An embryo biopsy removes about 3-8 cells from each day-5 embryo (a blastocyst). These cells are then sent to a lab for testing. The embryo is usually frozen and implanted later.

Dr. Gautam Allahbadia-led IVF team at Millennium Medical Center (MMC), a premier IVF center for medical tourists in Dubai, is an early adopter of the PGD procedure – offering to-be parents assurance of a healthy baby. The MMC IVF fertility clinic in Dubai uses Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to carry out PGD procedure.

NGS combines the power of single mutation detection and complete 24-chromosome aneuploidy screening. Both tests are performed simultaneously on the same embryo. This makes NGS superior to real-time PCR techniques that are the current standard.

PGD procedure allows the embryos to be tested for single gene disorders, sex-linked disorders, and chromosomal disorders, prior to implantation. Only the embryos that are free of genetic defects are finalized for transfer to the mother’s uterus.

For concerned parents looking to conceive a healthy child, PGD offers a simple solution. And considering that PGD successfully identifies about 2,000 inherited single gene disorders – the impact of conceiving a healthy baby is tremendous. Also, the procedure is 98 percent accurate in identifying affected and unaffected embryos – making it reliable and safe.

The genetic disorders identifiable through PGD include hereditary cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemophilia, Sickle Cell Disease, Tay-Sachs disease, Thalassemia, Myotonic Dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Fragile X syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, among others.

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