Dr. Richard T. Scott Jr., of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey is helping to answer that question with chromosomal testing.
Chromosomes are the structures in your cells that contain your genetic information like eye or hair colour. Your chromosomes direct how your body grows. We’re each born with 23 pairs of chromosomes – one set from each parent!
Sometimes an egg or sperm will have too many or too few chromosomes. When that sperm or egg joins with another egg or sperm with the right number of chromosomes, the embryo that results has a chromosomal abnormality.
Chromosomal abnormalities contribute to higher rates of implantation failure or miscarriage. As many as half of lab-created embryos have these abnormalities.
Dr. Scott, a Hannam Fertility Centre partner (we use his technology), did a randomized study with his clinic and the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. They found that women over 35 who had preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) had a live birth rate of 74.5% vs 53.7% in the control group.
Previous versions of PGS took one of the eight cells in a three day old embryo. Sometimes the testing damaged embryos. It’s less accurate to only look at one cell. With such a small sample size, less than half of the 23 chromosome pairs were able to be assessed.
Dr. Scott’s PGS test draws cells from 5 day old embryos. Two more days may not seem like a lot, but at that point the embryo has grown to have over 100 cells. It’s safe to take multiple cells at this point. And it means all 23 chromosomes can be screened, not just a few. Check out this New York Times article for more.