Michael Vermesh, MD, FACOG, discusses how Pre-implantation Genetic Testing has become one of the most important procedures offered at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology. PGT is done to ensure implanted embryos are healthy in order to avoid miscarriages. The test can also detect genetic mutations and reveal the gender of the embryo before implantation.
Embryo testing has become integral part of what we do in this office. It has developed over the years rapidly from its inception about 15 years ago, when it was a crude method of checking the embryos and very inaccurate, to nowadays when we use it routinely to test embryos for patients for a variety of reasons. The reasons to check embryos is number one to transfer embryo that is proven to be healthy back to the woman so that she does not have to go through miscarriage. Also, we test embryos for couples who have genetic problems that may be transmitted to the child. In the first case, it's called PGT-A. In the second case, it's called PGT-M or Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Mutation. PGT-A is primarily recommended for women who are in their 30s by age. In women who are younger than that age group, the incidents of abnormalities in embryos is quite low, and the PGT-A is not essential. We find that in women over the age of 41, 42, the PGT-A becomes less accurate and also potentially could be damaging to the embryo and therefore in our practice, we recommend women who are 42 and above, choose to not do the PGT-A and have a transfer of fresh embryos. Some people also want their embryos tested for gender. What we call family balancing because they prefer to have a specific gender, either for family balancing or for medical reasons. This method allows us a very high degree of accuracy in choosing the gender.