To ensure that you have a successful in vitro fertilization, you might have considered preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS. PGS is a procedure that tests for anatomical, physiological or genetic conditions in an embryo before transferring it into a new uterus.

To test the embryos, a biopsy is performed to extract and test chromosomes. Women with an unlikely live birth success might opt for PGS to ensure that the process is as successful as it can be. Those with unlikely birth rates include women of an advanced maternal age, repeated in vitro fertilization failure and recurrent miscarriages. If you are unlikely to have a live birth for any of these reasons, PGS is a logical thing to consider.

However, the results of a recent study suggest that it might not be as successful as it sounds. It makes sense to use the power of modern science to check an embryo before inserting it. Interesting a faulty embryo with in vitro fertilization wastes a monumental amount of resources, time and money. The results of numerous studies focus on the outcomes of PGS in women of an advanced maternal age. In a 40-year old woman, an estimated 50% to 70% of embryos will be affected by a chromosome abnormality that could be detected in PGS. However, the efficacy of PGS in these women is still controversial.

In older studies, results showed no increase in live births. More importantly, in recent studies, results actually showed a decrease in the number of live births. This decrease was most likely caused by the biopsy process ruining the embryo before it is inserted. While it may test positive for successful birth, its structure might be altered, and the in vitro fertilization will be unsuccessful. Numerous studies support these results, while very few show success rates in PGS before IVF.

It is tempting to use modern science in assisting your already risky in vitro fertilization. It would save you time, money and heartbreak to know if an embryo being inserted will not be born successfully. However, research shows that preimplantation genetic screening is not very successful in predicting problems with pregnancy, and has even made matters worse for many women by ruining healthy embryos. In vitro fertilization is an expensive process, so if PGS is one day perfected, it will help a lot of women in their pregnancy attempts. Until then, it has more disadvantages than benefits.

Source: Richard A. Anderson, Sue Pickering: The current status of preimplantation genetic screening: British Fertility Society Policy and Practice Guidelines, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 71-75, March 2008