By Regina Arnold

Pre-genetic diagnosis and gender selection offer choices for parents-to-be

Having the resources to screen out genetic disorders before you conceive your baby may be ideal for every future parent. At The Fertility Center of Las Vegas, patients are given the opportunity to not only screen for genetic disorders, but also to choose the gender of their child. While this may be a choice that some will shun, other future parents will welcome the opportunity to select the gender. Gone are the days of having multiple children in hopes of having that wanted boy or girl.

The process of in vitro fertilization allows examination of the genetic makeup of an embryo. Before implanting the embryo into the uterus, they are able to culture for single-gene defects carried in the chromosomes. Embryos that do not have a disease-carrying gene are then transferred into the uterus. At the Fertility Center of Las Vegas, they can also check the number of chromosomes in each embryo and only use those with a normal number. This is done in the hopes of increasing IVF success rates per transfer by eliminating transfer of nonviable embryos. These genetic tests are commonly known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or screening.

The Fertility Center of Las Vegas advises PGD when it is appropriate. “We recommend it to patients who have had repetitive miscarriages or carry genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis,” Dr. Bruce Shapiro explains. If the patient has known genetic disorders, they can use this procedure as a way to screen genetic problems from being passed to their children.

To test for genetic disorders, a biopsy of the embryo is performed and the cells from the biopsy specimen are tested for presence of the target genes. “Chances are good that some embryos won’t carry the target disease gene,” Dr. Shapiro said.

PGD and PGS also reveal the embryo’s gender, allowing the patients to choose the gender of their child, if they wish. Although this is not a new process, The Fertility Center Of Las Vegas has been using PGD/PGS for gender selection for more than a decade; there has been an increase with families choosing pre-genetic diagnosis. Some parents want to control the sex of the baby for cultural reasons and others to have family balance.

By taking a biopsy, doctors can determine whether the embryo is male or female. Female embryos have two X chromosomes, one from each parent, while male embryos have one X chromosome from the mother and one Y chromosome from the father. The transfer of only the embryos of one gender will greatly increase the chance that any resulting children would be of that gender.

To learn more about gender selection or pre-genetic diagnosis, call The Fertility Center of Las Vegas at 702.254.1777 and ask to speak with an IVF coordinator.

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