IVF is a ray of hope for couples suffering from genetic disorders

Being affected by a health problem and seeing how it affects your child can be very distressing. Everyone wants a healthy child in their life. But sometimes, due to genetic mutations, a child can get birth defects and chronic diseases from parents. Such couples with a genetic disease are reluctant to plan a pregnancy for fear of passing a fatal disease or lifelong illness to the unborn child.

Genetic Disorders:

A genetic disease can result from any irregularity in a person’s genetic structure. It can be mild to severe depending on the basic DNA mutation of a single gene or the gross abnormalities of a chromosome or set of chromosomes.

Some genetic abnormalities can be acquired spontaneously as a result of mutations or changes in a single gene or a combination of genes, or inherited from parents as they are passed down from generation to generation in families. It can be caused by other factors like environment, pollutants, exposure to certain chemicals, radiation, etc. Genetic defects in a man, a woman, or both can lead to infertility, either through implantation failure or miscarriage and birth abnormalities in the offspring.

Some common genetic disorders are Down syndrome, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, etc.

IVF: A glimmer of hope

Individuals/partners with severe genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Anemia, etc. are at high risk of passing the disease on to their child. Thousands of such couples now have hope thanks to the IVF procedure.

For couples who are at high risk of transmitting deadly disorders to the unborn child, IVF is a notable treatment. For example, if both parents have significant thalassemia, their child is more likely to develop the disease. However, if they undergo IVF, it is possible to determine whether or not the child will be affected by the condition. You can reduce the chance of genetic disorders being passed on to the child by using only healthy chromosomes during fertilization.

How is it possible?

A technique called “Embryo Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis” can create a genetic profile and make it easier to take appropriate steps. An embryo created by IVF is screened for genetic abnormalities prior to implantation in the uterus during an IVF cycle using preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), in which embryos are tested for single gene and chromosomal abnormalities.

The embryos created can be tested for a specific genetic mutation after a few days and only unaffected embryos can be placed in the uterus. PGD ​​not only reduces the likelihood of an inherited disease, but also increases the chances of a successful pregnancy. In addition, PGD eliminates the need to terminate or abort fetuses with significant problems.

Message to take away:

We receive a decent number of patients interested in IVF procedures to have a healthy baby for fear that they might pass the genetic problem on to their baby. However, there is still a certain demographic that needs to be made aware of IVF + PGT and its potential benefits.

For a healthy pregnancy, consult your doctor before planning a pregnancy if any of the diseases runs in the family. We recommend that such couples undergo pregenetic testing to assess the risk of transmitting the disease to the child. Also, regular prenatal testing is very important to diagnose genetic problems at the right stage. For this reason, we recommend couples to visit their gynecologists on set dates to keep an eye on the baby’s healthy growth.



The views expressed above are the author’s own.


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