Possible Complications of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a complicated process that allows couples to analyze the risk of genetic anomalies and chromosomal defects in their unborn children. Once these problems are correctly identified, the risk of the children inheriting or being born with one of these deficiencies can be almost completely eliminated with this diagnosis and treatment.

Some couples also use this treatment and diagnosis to choose the sex of their baby, however, sometimes complications can arise from the procedure. Complications are few and far between, but can be quite varied and severe when they do occur during PGD.

Damage to the Remaining Embryo Cells

The first complication that many couples worry about is the possibility that the biopsy could result in damage to the remaining cells in the embryo or halt the development of the embryo. The biggest concern is that by removing one-eighth of the embryo, it could become less receptive to the freezing that must take place in order to assess the possible chromosomal damage or anomalies caused by the condition of the parents. As a result, the testing could be incomplete or incorrect.

It is also important to note that not all of the cells in the embryo may be identical, so if one is removed and analyzed, it may not be identical to the other cells that remain in the embryo, therefore the problem may still be present.

Missed Abnormalities

Because only 9 of the 23 chromosomal pairs can be tested when doing this diagnosis, sometimes anomalies and mutations are missed. It is important to remember, however, that even though there are sometimes complications in this type of diagnosis, the percentage of misdiagnosed patients and embryos are few and far between and that this number is not statistically significant when compared with the number of successful pregnancies and diagnoses.

Multiple Pregnancies

Sometimes, when there have been problems carrying a baby to term, two embryos are inserted into the uterus. This is not recommended since one embryo usually does better and has fewer complications. When two embryos are inserted, this often times results in a multiple birth where both embryos survive and multiples are delivered. However, the chance that one of them may have the mutation or chromosome abnormality that was trying to be avoided is higher.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

OHSS causes the ovaries to enlarge to a possible three times their original size. Also, blood protein levels drop and other problems may occur. This complication is more common in younger women, or women with known ovary problems.

Other Complications and Symptoms

A few other complications that may develop are pelvic infections and the puncturing of a blood vessel. If you think you may be experiencing any of the above mentioned complications check to see if you have any of the symptoms listed below.

  • vaginal bleeding
  • pain or swelling in your stomach
  • nausea and vomiting (fluids especially)
  • concentrated or small amounts of urine or diarrhea
  • fevers
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath

If you have any of these symptoms or multiple symptoms, please contact your doctor or fertility specialist immediately.

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