Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
PGD is a common procedure that many parents choose to undergo in the very earliest stages of pregnancy. PGD is the shortened version of preimplantation genetic diagnosis though PGD testing and screening are also sometimes used to refer to the process. PGD is used by future parents to make sure that their child is healthy and lacks genetic diseases that could put its life at risk or cause it significant discomfort. This process is also used to prevent selective pregnancy termination, as it provides a near-guarantee probability that no problems or unpleasant surprises are identified during pregnancy or after. PGD is not a standalone approach, as it also requires an IVF procedure before it can be carried out.
PGD fertility procedures are performed in the middle of the whole IVF process. To be specific, once the samples submitted by the donors are fertilized in vitro and become embryos, the procedure can be conducted. It should be noted that all embryos are kept in an incubator until testing is complete, as this is a stable and safe environment where no harm can come to them. To accurately test the embryos, a biopsy procedure is used. After this point, the medical professionals in charge of PGD may opt for two testing methods, including PCR and FISH. The former is applied to test for monogenic disorders while the latter can help determine whether the embryos have any chromosomal abnormalities. After these (and possibly additional) tests are taken, the healthiest embryos can be selected for implantation, and any other viable candidates will be preserved in a cryonic unit. You should also remember that PGD testing can be done before the embryonic stage, so as to determine which individual sex cells are suitable for fertilization.
There are many advantages afforded by choosing a PGD procedure. The most obvious benefit is the assurance parents get that their child will lack harmful genetic disorders and should be able to lead a healthy life. Another significant advantage many consider important is the possibility of PGD gender selection. Just several decades ago, choosing the sex of your child was unheard of, yet today this option is available, giving parents considerable freedom in determining what kind of child they want to raise. Sometimes, this is done to prevent a child from inheriting genetic diseases passed on to a specific gender. There are many possible reasons and motives. However, the possibilities of PGD selection don’t stop at genetic screening and gender selection. It can also be used to select children with matching HLA types or unsusceptible to certain types of cancer.
Although IVF and PGD are growing in popularity and prevalence, they have their limitations and critics. Some countries, like Germany, have previously banned PGD IVF practices, calling them immoral and unlawful. Many countries put limitations of these procedures, narrowing their scope or otherwise regulating them. Naturally, there are also those that give great freedom to medical professionals in conducting PGD, such as Thailand and South Africa.