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A genetic screening tool may provide some peace of mind

Concerned that you’ll pass on a fatal or debilitating condition or serious illness that runs in your family such as Fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or muscular dystrophy? A genetic testing procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) makes it possible to screen embryos for these and other serious health conditions thereby reducing or eliminating the risk of transmitting the condition to your offspring.

PGD is generally used when one or both genetic parents are at risk for transmitting a known genetic abnormality to their child. Through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), embryos are screened in the lab. Only those embryos found to be free of the particular genes that lead to the health condition are transferred to the woman’s womb. This form of genetic testing is a great alternative to tests such as amniocentesis that can only be done several weeks into a pregnancy in which case individuals can be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

PGD has assisted many individuals to produce children that are free from severe genetic disorders that are carried by one or both of their parents. If you’re concerned about passing on a fatal or serious health condition that runs in your or your partner’s family, ask your doctor for a referral to a fertility centre that offers PGD.

Read more about PGD here.

Read more about prenatal screening and diagnosis here.

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