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Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis

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Updated January 07, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is an assisted reproductive technology that allows an embryo to be tested for genetic abnormalities. It would be used during an IVF treatment cycle, usually for couples who are experiencing repeated miscarriages or who are at risk for having a child with a chromosomal or genetic abnormality.

PGD takes place during IVF after a fertilized egg, or embryo, has been created. PGD involves taking one or two cells from the embryo, and then testing these cells for genetic diseases. Removing these cells does not harm the embryo. If the cells tested seem to be healthy, that embryo can then be transfer to the woman's uterus during the embryo transfer.

While PGD lowers the risk of a child having the genetic disease being tested for, and lowers the risk of a miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormalities, PGD does not guarantee a genetically healthy child. Miscarriage is also still possible.

PGD costs $3,000 or more, depending on what is being tested for and how many tests are being performed. This cost is in addition to the basic IVF costs, and any other additional ART options.

There is controversy surrounding PGD, with some saying it can be used to create "designer babies", allowing parents to choose a baby's sex or physical characteristics. While there are some doctors who use PGD to allow parents to choose the gender of their baby, this is very uncommon. Also, the technology is not 100% accurate.

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