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Published 2. 10. 2020

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidies (PGT-A)

Genetic screening and how it can help achieve a healthy pregnancy

If you are already in the process of an IVF treatment, you will want to make sure the chances of pregnancy are as high as possible.

The field of genetic investigations has progressed tremendously in the past few decades.  Genetic testing is nowadays a key tool that aids the process of embryo selection. Selecting the embryos that have the correct number of chromosomes is a method that increases a positive pregnancy result.  This means that embryo selection can help avoid miscarriages, biochemical pregnancies, and implantation failures.  At PFC, we have been offering genetic testing for over 10 years.

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Why is Genetic testing a better way to select embryos for transfer?

When an embryo has any deviation from 46 chromosomes (an extra or missing chromosome), it is likely to result in:

  • a failed implantation,
  • biochemical pregnancy,
  • miscarriage, or
  • a pregnancy affected by a chromosomal abnormality.

While women of all ages are at risk of producing embryos with chromosomal imbalances, the risk increases with age.  It’s for this reason that older women may wish to include PGS as part of their IVF treatment. However, PGS is available to patients of any age.

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How is PGT-A (formerly PGS) done?

Once fertilized, embryo cultivation goes until the 5th or early 6th day (blastocyst stage).

At this stage of development, the embryologists can perform a biopsy.  To do this, they remove 2-10 cells from the precursor placenta cells of the blastocyst embryo, called the trophectoderm. These outer cells are what eventually will become the placenta. It’s important to know that the inner mass of cells is not biopsied in this procedure. They are what will grow into your baby.

The embryos are vitrified while the biopsied cells are analyzed.   The embryo transfer can happen the next cycle around.

In the genetic laboratory, the cells are screened for the overall chromosomal makeup of the embryo. Under normal circumstances, the egg and sperm both contribute 23 chromosomes each. Together, they create a healthy embryo with 46 chromosomes. The PGT-A results will reveal not only the gender of the embryo but will also classify them into two types: euploidy (normal, suitable for transfer) and aneuploidy (abnormal, has extra or fewer chromosomes than 46).

Do we recommend PGT-A?

PGT-A is available to all couples at PFC.  The method is mainly suitable for those that meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • women over 38 years of age
  • recurrent miscarriages
  • repeated unsuccessful embryo transfers in previous IVF cycles
  • miscarriages where the fetus had a chromosomal abnormality
  • low quality of the semen analysis- high pathology
  • known chromosomal abnormalities in one or both partners
  • resulting embryos from fertilization with surgically removed sperm cells (MESA, PESA)

Prague Fertility Centre has been a pioneer in embryo biopsies under the direct supervision of Dr. Daniel Hlinka.

If you have been struggling with achieving a pregnancy for a while, or you have experienced several miscarriages, Contact Dr. Hlinka today

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