As you progress through your infertility journey, you begin to hear more and more of what seems like alphabet soup. If you have been recommended by your fertility specialist to do IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), you may have been recommended to add a PGS or PGD testing as well. In general, there are six main groups that can benefit from PGS or PGD. Patients who are over age 35, patients of any age with repeated IVF failure (3 or more failed attempts), to screen for inherited genetic diseases, patients that are carriers of chromosomal translocations, patients that have had recurrent miscarriages, and patients that are seeking family balancing through gender selection.

So, what exactly is PGS or PGD? PGS stands for
Preimplantation Genetic Screening, and screens embryos
for potential chromosomal abnormalities. It tests to make
sure there are the correct number of chromosomes in each embryo to allow for a healthy implantation and pregnancy. PGD stands for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. This test is useful for intended parent(s) who wish to screen their embryos for a specific genetic condition, like Tay-Sachs, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, among many others. Your fertility specialist will let you know which of these two is recommended based on your individual needs.

PGS and PGD are tested in similar ways. After the IVF process takes place and the embryos are grown to approximately day 5 blastocysts, a small amount of tissue is retrieved from each embryo and send off to the lab. Then the embryos are frozen at this stage while we wait for the genetic testing results. These results can take anywhere from 12 hours to a month, depending on the laboratory. The report is sent to your fertility specialist who will then counsel you on which embryos will result in the best possible pregnancy outcomes. Using PGS or PGD can increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy and decrease the chances of a genetic disease. Prenatal diagnostic testing can help confirm the results of PGS or PGD after conception has occurred. Ask your fertility specialist if you have any questions about whether PGS or PGD is right for you.

References:
Does PGD & PGS Help IVF, Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing with IVF. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2017. <http://www.advancedfertility.com/preimplantation_genetic_diagnosis.htm>