Saturday, January 16, 2016

Overselling PGD

IVF treatment has a limited success rate, and this is partly because of the fact that human reproduction has its own biological limitations. The pregnancy rate, even for a fertile couple who has sex every single day in the bedroom, is never going to cross 25%, no matter how young they are, and how many babies they have had together. However, infertile couples sometimes lose sight of this biological fact, and have very unrealistic expectations from IVF.  These false hopes are sometimes stoked by IVF doctors, who promise them the earth and moon in order to get them to sign up for the IVF treatment.

This is why, when their good looking embryos fail to implant, they are desperate for answers. They want to try something more " advanced", in the hope that this will improve their chances of success. IVF doctors are quite happy to provide " solutions" , For example, many recommend that they do PGS for aneuploidy screening , in order to check whether the embryo is genetically normal or not.

Unfortunately, this is a technique which (as is usual with a lot of new IVF techniques) is being oversold. Very few doctors talk about the potential harm which can be caused by doing unnecessary biopsies - it;s very easy to kill an embryo while doing an embryo biopsy.

While papers published in medical journals by researchers quote high success rates, this can be very misleading . Most IVF clinics can never match those rates because they simply don't have either the experience or expertise which these researchers do.

IVF patients have burned their fingers with PGS FISH in the past, which instead of improving success rates actually ended up reducing them. I think the same thing will play out for CCS/ NGS  as well.

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