Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

July 30, 2019
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is a procedure that studies the ova and embryos, but why? In this article, discover the answer to this question.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a procedure that’s performed before assisted reproduction, also known as artificial fertilization. This is something that’s done when a woman is unable to become pregnant by natural means.

In this article, we’ll explain PGD. Also, we’ll tell you how it benefits pregnancy and the methods that doctors must carry out to ensure success.

What’s Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis?

A study of ova and embryos.

Basically, preimplantation genetic diagnosis studies the ova and embryos. This is done to avoid implanting embryos that may lead to abortion or a baby that isn’t entirely healthy.

This is an advantage of assisted reproduction. When a woman gets pregnant naturally, she can’t choose between a healthy or unhealthy embryo. However, preimplantation genetic diagnosis prevents the baby from being born with Down syndrome or Turner syndrome, among others.

Read: The Genetic Origin of Sex: the X and Y Sex Chromosomes

Methods

Before implanting the egg in the woman’s uterus, doctors perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis. To do this, they carry out an in vitro fertilization and put the fertilized eggs in a glass capsule. Then, they wait three to five days to analyze how they’re developing.

After that time, they perform a biopsy on each of the embryos to discover any genetic problem. After this, the doctors choose up to three healthy embryos and implant them into the woman’s uterus.

However, there are a few common questions most people have:

What if the woman doesn’t get pregnant? Does she have to go through this process again?

The answer is no. After all, although only three embryos are chosen for implantation, there may be many other healthy ones. In these cases, the doctors can free them to try the procedure again later.

A Useful Technique

In vitro fertilization.

This technique is especially useful for couples who have a family history of serious genetic diseases or suffer from one.

Although you may think that this can only be done when a woman can’t become pregnant naturally, the fact is that it’s a useful technique in cases where there’s an illness in the family that may be inherited.

This way, medical professionals can choose a healthy embryo free of any life-altering hereditary disorder. Naturally, it’s often a recommended technique in these situations.

However, it’s still sparking debate.

This article may interest you: Eleven Habits You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

The Ethics of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

There are still some ethical objections regarding the disposal of embryos.

In some cases, people are concerned about the personal dignity of the human embryo and maintaining the natural order of things. Some people believe that preimplantation genetic diagnosis is against all this since it allows medical professionals to choose the healthiest embryos that are free of any genetic alteration.

Undoubtedly, this is a very healthy debate to keep in mind.

However, those who are in favor of the procedure hope to raise healthy children.

Today, these types of methods exist so babies aren’t born with diseases that only allow them to live a limited amount of time.

The option is available, especially for women who can’t get pregnant or who are afraid to have children because they may inherit a disease. It’s a valid alternative to keep in mind.

If a degenerative disease ran in your family, would you undergo preimplantation genetic diagnosis? What do you think about this procedure?

  • Alvarado Marambio, José Tomás, & Santos Alcántara, Manuel J.. (2018). Ethical Problems with the Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis of Human Embryos. Acta bioethica, 24(1), 75-83. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S1726-569X2018000100075
  • López, Paul W., López, Rosmary, Noriega, Luis G., & Sepúlveda, Soledad. (2013). Diagnóstico genético preimplantacional: análisis de aneuploidías únicas. Anales de la Facultad de Medicina, 74(1), 11-14. Recuperado en 19 de abril de 2019, de http://www.scielo.org.pe/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1025-55832013000100003&lng=es&tlng=es.
  • Moya-González, Marina, & Ramón-Fernández, Francisca. (2018). El diagnóstico genético preimplantacional: aspectos jurídicos en el derecho español. Revista de Derecho Privado, (34), 87-121. https://dx.doi.org/10.18601/01234366.n34.04