PGT, or Preimplantation Genetic Testing, refers to the process of removing a small group of cells from a viable embryo (i.e. a blastocyst) in order to test the chromosomes prior to implantation. Such testing plays a significant role for anyone dreaming of having a healthy pregnancy and baby whilst navigating the difficult terrain of infertility.
Embryos created through assisted reproductive techniques and procedures can contain either a normal or abnormal number of chromosomes. Embryos with a normal number of chromosomes are called euploid, while embryos with an abnormal number of chromosomes are called aneuploid. PGT provides clinicians with the ability to determine exactly which embryos are euploid versus aneuploid. Given that euploid embryos have a much higher implantation rate and live birth rate, one’s chances of having a healthy live birth dramatically improve with the use of PGT.
The benefits of PGT are more pronounced in older women, as the percentage of aneuploid embryos increases dramatically with age. For example, at 30 years of age, 30% of embryos created through IVF are aneuploid. This number increases to 70% at 40 years of age. However, even women under 35 years of age can benefit from PGT, as unknowingly transferring abnormal embryos leads to miscarriages, time lost, and more unnecessary and potentially costly procedures.
While not all patients will benefit equally from PGT, it’s an important discussion for patients to have with their reproductive endocrinologists prior to undergoing IVF.