Among the various assisted reproductive techniques, IVF, or in vitro fertilization, has emerged as the preferred option for many couples, of which preimplantation genetic diagnosis is an integral part. PGD is essentially test that is repeatedly done during IVF to ensure that only the selected, healthy embryo is transferred to the uterus of the female patient. However, the dynamics of preimplantation genetic diagnosis are a bit more complex if the woman has suffered a miscarriage.
Basics of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Miscarriage
Among the various for seeking PGD, repeated miscarriages or a medical history of miscarriages is a major reason. It has been observed that women over the age of 35 are a bit more prone to repeated miscarriages. Please understand in these miscarriages, there are no clear/external causes that may have induced the miscarriage.
Thus, it becomes rather clear that the fetus isn't developing properly due to some reason that is prevalent at the internal, cellular level during the embryonic development. It has been established that miscarriages that have happened more than three times in the recent past are usually caused by problems beyond the scope of conventional medicine. Such failed pregnancies are induced by a complicated scenario wherein anatomic, hormonal and immunologic causes, along with chromosomal problems, negate a successful pregnancy.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Resolving Miscarriage
Since PGD involves repeated testing of the embryos that have been fertilized artificially, i.e. in vitro, there is a higher likelihood that the exact reason for the miscarriage can be identified. Many couples are susceptible to believing that the reason for a miscarriage solely lies within some abnormality affecting the uterine condition of the female or her reproductive organs. However, PGD has often proven that the reason for repeated miscarriages often lies with the sperm.
Nearly every clinic providing IVF facilities is now equipped with the equipment needed to perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis. This process involves testing random cells from the embryo about two-to-three days after the artificial fertilization. Only a few, selected embryos that are deemed worthy of surviving are considered for being artificially transferred to the uterus of the woman.
Advantage of PGD as a Medium of Preventing Miscarriage
The biggest advantage of preventing miscarriage through PGD is that the patient and her family are saved from the repeated emotional trauma that is associated with each failed pregnancy. Most of the other techniques that are similar to PGD are essentially pre-childbirth techniques, i.e. they can detect embryonic problems, including chances of a miscarriage and genetic defects, only when the woman is pregnant. This provides two, rather tough options to the female patient—either go through with a pregnancy that is already indicating sings of an unhealthy baby or terminate it.
Understandably, both the techniques are emotionally draining for the patient and her family. However, in PGD testing, the developing embryo is tested before initiating the pregnancy. The process of elimination of suspected embryos to make the pregnancy successful is done at a cellular level—a pre-pregnancy testing method.
Please note that decoding the cause of miscarriage isn't the only reason for performing PGD. The testing is essentially aimed at finding out any kind of genetic abnormality that could be passed onto the child, as well as identifying and removing embryos that indicate signs of impaired cellular development. Some chromosomal abnormalities like Trisomy 21 can be identified through PGD.