Study reveals that PGD is safe for singleton babies

baby toes

The largest and longest running study of children born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and screening (PGS) has shown that embryo biopsy does not adversely affect the health of the babies born in subsequent singleton pregnancies. This should be a great relief to the many parents who agonize about the possibility of genetic disorders only to agonize more over whether or not the test’s risks outweigh those genetic concerns.

The Belgian research, which is published online in the January issue of Human Reproduction, is the best response so far to these questions. Professor Inge Liebaers, head of the Centre for Medical Genetics at the University Hospital Brussels and a member of the Department of Embryology and Genetics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) has been collecting data on all pregnancies, deliveries and babies born after PGD at the VUB from 1992 to 2005. Data for the 581 babies was collected at the time of conception, during examination at delivery and additional examination at two months old.

The same group of researchers has also been following the health of children born with the help of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to determine whether potential differences in outcome were exclusively related to the embryo biopsy in PGD and not to the assisted reproduction technology in general.

There was no statistically significant difference in outcome between the two groups. They considered premature births, birth weights and major malformations. For resulting singleton pregnancies, there was no difference in the numbers of deaths around the time of birth between PDG and ICSI babies. However, there were five times more perinatal deaths for multiple pregnancies in the PGD babies compared to the ICSI babies.

The research team summarized, “The major finding is that embryo biopsy does not seem to change the risk of major malformations nor does the biopsy seem to add risks to the health of newborn singleton PGD/PGS children.” There continues to be concern about complications for multiples.

“It’s fair to say that from the data of our study and taking into account the limitations of the study that the health of the singleton children born after embryo biopsy for PGD is similar to the health of singleton children born after IVF/ICSI,” concluded Prof. Liebaers.

Source: The Spin Doctor, ScienceDaily


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