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Report backs role of PGS in assisted reproduction

16 August 2010

By Rosemary Paxman

Appeared in BioNews 571

The successful use of PGS (preimplantation genetic screening) can be linked to access to appropriate technologies and the skill level and techniques used by embryologists, new research has found.

Dr Santiago Munne, founder of Reprogenetics and leading expert in the field, and his team reviewed and evaluated the current use of PGS. In their report, published in July's Fertility and Sterility journal, they show 'that clinics using optimal methodology, highly skilled technicians and the most advanced chromosomal assessment techniques have consistently shown an improvement in assisted reproductive technology (ART) results with PGD'.

The review identifies a 'blueprint' for successful PGS. This consists of appropriate patient selection by considering maternal age and number of available embryos, using highly and appropriately trained scientists, taking a single cell biopsy from the embryo, studying at least eight significant chromosomes and carrying out all work out in a PGS laboratory with an error rate lower than 10 per cent.

The need to review current technologies stems from currently inconsistent conclusions from previous trials, creating a debate surrounding the use of PGS to improve IVF pregnancy results. The report noted that broadly varying biopsy and chromosome analysis were used, thus producing contradictory results. Dr Munne's team also reported that despite many studies indicating significant advantages of PGS, the notion of its full benefits was not yet uniformly shared, with results varying widely amongst laboratories performing PGS.

PGS is commonly used to study the extracted chromosomes used in ART and is often vital in successful embryo selection. During this process, embryos created through IVF are examined for genetic defects before implantation in the female's uterus. This allows for only healthy embryos to be selected, potentially increasing implantation success rate, reducing spontaneous abortion and the likelihood of the fetus having chromosomal abnormalities.

Chromosome defects are thought to cause over 50 per cent of miscarriages, with this number increasing with maternal age. Dr Munne explained that 'PGD remains a viable option for many couples who are at risk of passing on certain genetic diseases to their children or who have been unsuccessful with assisted reproduction to help increase their chance of having a healthy baby'.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

22 February 2016 - by The signatories of the COGEN Consensus Statement 
It is clear from the reply of Mertes et al in BioNews 835 to the COGEN Consensus Statement on preimplanation genetic screening that some controversy still remains regarding the benefits of PGS...
18 January 2016 - by Heidi Mertes, Sjoerd Repping & Guido de Wert 
Under the auspices of the Virtual Academy of Genetics, COGEN recently issued a 'consensus statement' on preimplantation genetic screening, based on a scientific meeting held in Paris last September...
01 November 2010 - by MacKenna Roberts 
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has published an updated set of best practice guidelines for fertility clinics on the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) techniques...
25 October 2010 - by Dr Gabrielle Samuel 
The first formal clinical study of a test that screens an eggs for chromosomal abnormalities - the main cause of non-viable embryos during IVF - has been conducted. This may help pave the way for women with a history of IVF failure to achieve successful pregnancies...

23 July 2010 - by Professor Alan Handyside 
At the beginning of this month, following the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual meeting in Rome, a workshop was held to celebrate 20 years of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)...
05 July 2010 - by Dr Malcolm Smith 
This guide is invaluable for anyone who has an interest in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), particularly those who do not have a scientific background and are interested in the regulatory and ethical issues associated with this technology...
26 January 2010 - by Nick Meade 
The Genetic Interest Group (GIG) welcomed the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)’s review of the case-by-case approach to the licensing of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for late-onset conditions and for tissue typing of embryos to produce a 'saviour sibling'. I attended the HFEA's consultation event at which Dr David King spoke on 1 December last year and heard his presentation. Then, as in his BioNews comment
18 January 2010 - by Dr David King 
On 20 January, the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) will decide whether to continue the case-by-case regulation of two types of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) applications: those for late onset conditions and tissue typing of embryos to produce a 'saviour sibling'....
21 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The first large-scale study of genetic screening of embryos before implantation, published in January's issue of the journal Human Reproduction, has shown that the procedures used are safe for children born in single pregnancies....

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