In India, genetic factors cause about 60% of pregnancy losses, 2-3% of all neonatal abnormalities, 50% of childhood disability and 1 to 10% of malignancies. However, with the new IVF and ART technologies in India, the patients have been given the facility to undergo an embryo genetic testing right before the implantation process. A notable authority in the field of ART & IVF, Goral Gandhi , believes that with increasingly common phenomenon of delayed and assisted pregnancy, genetic testing has found its importance in assisted reproductive technologies.
According to Goral Gandhi, founder of Indo Nippon IVF, who is considered among the best embryologists in India, with the advancement in genetic technology, patients, especially those with genetic disorders or illnesses have been given the option to deliver genetically healthy children. The process of Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) includes the detection of genetic defects in embryos or oocytes.
Preimplantation genetic testing is the testing at the pre-implantation stage for detection of genetic defects in embryos or oocytes. Genetic screening tests such as Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) can be offered during all pregnancies. Embryologist Dr Goral Gandhi lists factors other than hereditary that can increase the possibility of genetic anomalies in the child:
- Age of the mother (higher the age, the higher is the possibility of genetic defects)
- Previous affected pregnancy or child
- Abnormal karyotype findings in any of the parents
“This method of identifying a genetic defect in an embryo before it is implanted back in the womb at embryo transfer has proven to be a good option for couples who have had a child with genetic abnormalities or who are at a higher risk of having children with genetic abnormalities. This helps us in separating the embryos with a known or suspected gene problem (PGD) or abnormal number of chromosomes (PGS) from the normal ones,” explains Goral Gandhi, a renowned IVF scientist and trainer. The best embryologist in India further states that transferring back a PGS selected healthy embryo increases the chances of having a healthy baby.
She also segregates that the techniques of PGS and PGD only rule out that an embryo is healthy and free of genetic disease but the successful implantation of the embryo in uterus also requires a receptive endometrium. The risks of miscarriage, foetal death later in pregnancy, stillbirth or a baby with abnormalities are all increased in aneuploid embryos. Pre-implantation genetic screening also helps in severe male factor infertility and in couples with previous recurrent miscarriages.