March 5, 2024

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis oversold, say IVF experts

“A problem in the field of IVF”
Preimplanation genetic
diagnosis (or genetic screening) has become a standard service in IVF clinics
around the world. In Europe, the number of cycles soared from 116 in 1998 to 3900
in 2007. PGD (or PGS) guarantees that a baby will not have a particular disease
or will be of the right sex. But its rapid take-up by the clinics is due to the
fact that it is being sold as a surer way to pregnancy for older would-be mothers
or as a solution for repeated miscarriages.

Is this true?

The latest word from
PGD experts in the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology is
that it isn’t. Current research, based on 11 randomised controlled trials,
suggests that “there is no evidence that routine PGS is
beneficial for patients with [advanced maternal age]”. The situation
is similar for repeated miscarriages.  

The lesson? A position
statement from the ESHRE PGD Consortium steering committee published in the
journal Human Reproduction states: “The widespread use
of PGS without evidence of its ability to improve delivery rates has
been a problem in the field of IVF. We must learn from this
experience and ensure that techniques are brought into our treatment
programmes only when there is scientific data to support their use.”
~ Human
Reproduction, April

Michael Cook