IVF embryo testing generates debate

Prospective parents who turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive a child are often asked to consider a test that examines DNA taken from embryo cells. Many experts believe the “preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy” or PGT-A identifies genetic deficiencies that can lead to miscarriage.

The test can add $4,000 to $5,000 to IVF procedures. Critics say when abnormalities are discovered during PGT-A, many clinics discard the embryos despite evidence that they are capable of being viable. Abnormal test results also encourage some couples to pursue IVF using donor eggs, thereby giving up on having a child biologically related to both parents.

Study suggests PGT-A is too pervasive

In April, a study in the journal Human Reproduction concluded that some clinics act hastily by discarding embryos due to PGT-A results. The authors say testing proponents do not seem to accept new evidence suggesting that abnormal embryos can still result in viable pregnancies. The study also says if PGT-A results show irregularities, some clinics refuse to transfer embryos. Others offer prospective parents a choice.

The study says not enough evidence has been gathered to discount the use of so-called “aneuploid” embryos, and clinics rely too heavily on test results without enough supporting data. Other experts say evidence exists that embryos with deficiencies can sometimes self-correct, reducing the chance of miscarriage.

Experts who embrace PGT-A vehemently reject these arguments and believe the test gives parents who can afford it realistic data on the possibility that IVF will be successful. Proponents say the test is valuable but must be combined with patient education and counseling.

Navigating the complexities of IVF

Assisted reproductive technology (ART), including IVF, is an evolving medical science designed to help those with fertility issues grow their families. The procedures are typically complex and expensive, but countless couples have welcomed children enriching their lives. Many of them do not know what to expect when considering ART.

Knowledgeable attorneys specializing in assisted reproductive law can help you find the answers you are seeking. Experienced lawyers in this field not only have access to the latest information and experts regarding ART, but just as importantly, they can offer guidance over the many legal and practical issues and questions that develop.