Is Genetic screening before embryo transfer effective in improving IVF success?

IVF treatment procedure is the artificial and lab-based conception in which matured female eggs are kept in the Petri dish with the male sperm for fertilization under the controlled conditions that mimic the mother’s womb. After the successful fertilization of eggs and embryo culture, the healthiest embryo is implanted back in the mother womb for successful pregnancy.

In the IVF, to overcome the issue of birth defects and to improve the chances of live births, one new method has been added that is the genetic screening of the embryo before its implantation. In many IVF center in India, developing embryo has been tested to know about the genetic abnormalities and the embryo free from any abnormality has been implanted in the mother womb for successful pregnancy.

What is Genetic screening in IVF?

The rationale for the genetic screening was to test the embryo for genetic defects which usually increase with the age of intended mother and even these genetic defects become the reason for miscarriage so to overcome this issue genetic screening has been done before the implantation of the embryo. In this technique after the embryo development, its chromosome has been tested to check the abnormalities in it before its implantation.

After some time this technique has been reformed as instead of testing the embryo in the early stage of embryo development, it has been tested for the abnormalities in the later stage after its development as the blastocyst. For testing the blastocyst small cluster of surface cells of the blastocyst has been taken by biopsy for the genetic screening and in this screening three-phase analysis has been done to check the chromosomal abnormalities.

However, this technique of genetic screening has not made any difference in IVF treatment cost in India but has got success in overcoming the issue of miscarriage and helpful in ensuring the right chromosome before the implantation of the blastocyst. However, the success of live births due to this genetic screening is still questionable as there are not any evidences has been given that can prove that this testing of genes has improved the chances of live births.

Some studies have claimed that this genetic screening of the fertilized eggs has made no difference to the rate of live births means this screening is not helpful in increasing the number of live births after the one IVF cycle. In 2012 one research was conducted to check the results of chromosomal screening before implantation of the embryo, by taking the sample of 396 women of advanced maternal age from the nine centers of seven different countries. After the research, the experts revealed that this pre-implantation genetic screening does not make any difference in the number of live births after one complete IVF cycle but it has given the other benefits like reduced the number of miscarriages and even reduced the chances of birth defects.

Overall, pre-implantation, screening of the embryo has overcome the potential drawbacks of the IVF procedure and reduced the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the babies.