A number of diseases have an identified genetic factor or predisposition. For example, in cystic fibrosis (CF), about 70% of CF patients have the same missing gene. Genetic diseases are not only a leading cause of miscarriage, but can seriously impact the quality of life of those affected.
A recent development in medicine has been the development of pre-implantation genetic screening.
PGS is a procedure that involves conducting a biopsy of the embryos and identifying which of the embryos is at risk of a specific genetic disease, such as cystic fibrosis.
Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) can also be used to screen for embryos with an abnormal number of chromosomes. The main indications for PGS are an advanced maternal age, a history of recurrent miscarriages or repeated unsuccessful implantation. It has also been proposed for patients with obstructive and non-obstructive azoospermia.
One or two cells are biopsied from the embryos and then flown to a world-leading laboratory in the United States. They perform the genetic analysis and get the results back to us within 24 hours. This aids us in selecting which embryos are likely to be free from the genetic disease.
After the embryo replacement, surplus good quality unaffected embryos can be vitrified for use in future / sibling cycles.
This represents a significant merger of state-of-the-art technologies :
Micromanipulation techniques and technology, which enable ICSI to create the embryos and to then perform the embryo biopsy
Genetic Screening to help in selecting which embryos are likely to be free from genetic disease.
Vitrification to store surplus embryos that are likely to be free from the genetic disease for future use and siblings.
The introduction of pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) at Barbados Fertility Centre represents a major investment in the fertility care we provide to our patients.