Genetic Testing of Embryos

When you’re trying to have a child, we know you have two main goals — successful conception and a healthy newborn. Thanks to advances in technology and the field of genetics, we can help you increase your chances of both.

The team at our Center for Reproductive Medicine can examine the genetics of embryos before they’re implanted during in vitro fertilization. This preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) lets us confirm which embryos we should transfer and represents a significant development in fertility treatment.

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Who should consider preimplantation genetic testing?

Not everyone chooses the option of genetic testing. We understand cultural and religious beliefs may influence your decision and respect your choice.

People who do pursue preimplantation genetic testing do so for various reasons. For some, it’s reassurance. For others, they may have a history of inherited disease in their family.

Typically, we recommend embryonic genetic testing in certain situations. We may recommend testing for:

  • Women older than 35 — miscarriage rates increase with age
  • Women who have experienced two or more miscarriages — testing may detect which embryos may run into problems
  • Couples who tried IVF before without success
  • Carriers of a harmful (or potentially harmful) genetic change getting fertility help — both men and women
  • People with family histories of genetic disease who want to conceive but otherwise don’t need fertility care

Options for genetic testing of embryos at Henry Ford Health System

Genetic testing does not harm an embryo — we just need a few cells to complete our evaluation. We work with experienced genetic counselors at Henry Ford who can help you explore your options and explain the results of any testing. Options include:

  • PGT-A (previously called preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS): Most of the genetic testing we do involves counting chromosomes, the structures of DNA inside cells that contain genes. We look for chromosomes that are missing, duplicated or out of position. Doing so helps us choose embryos that have the greatest chance of attaching during IVF and turning into a healthy pregnancy. We screen embryos for chromosome disorders such as Down syndrome.
  • PGT-M (previously called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD): Some families have a known history of disease passed down through changes to a specific gene. Examples include cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease. We examine the gene in question for each embryo, looking for any that can avoid passing on the hereditary risk.
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