Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) for Healthy Gender Selection
PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening) can help couples not only select the gender of their child but also can determine if an embryo contains the normal number of chromosomes. PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) can identify particular genetic diseases that a person may carry while also assisting couples who could potentially transmit a sex-linked genetic disease to their children.
With 99.9% accuracy in predicting an embryo’s gender, PGD/PGS gives couples the best odds in determining their baby’s sex.
PGS allows couples to choose their baby’s sex by identifying male and female embryos conceived in a laboratory, prior to transfer to the woman’s uterus. PGS requires IVF, fertilization in a laboratory petri dish, along with a minor surgical procedure to remove eggs from her ovaries. After fertilization, specialists examine the embryo for its sex chromosomes (XX for a female or XY for male), and then implant an embryo of the selected sex into the woman’s uterus.
PGS was first developed in the 1980s. Interestingly, the initial application of PGD in humans was to determine the gender of embryos to prevent X-linked genetic diseases. This technique was first described in 1987 by scientists at the University of Edinburgh and the first live births, healthy twin girls, were reported in 1990. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis has been used not only to detect gender but also to detect abnormalities of chromosome number, such as Down syndrome, but may also be used to ‘diagnose’ serious single-gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis and sickle-cell anemia prior to implantation.
With all methods of PGS, an important fact is worth noting: A surprisingly high percentage (50% to 70%) of embryos will be found to be abnormal, even in healthy, fertile couples. A typical PGS case might look something like this: 14 eggs are retrieved; 11 are suitable for fertilization; 8 fertilize; 6 are biopsied; 1 to 3 are normal, and 1 or 2 of the normal embryos are of the desired gender. As you can see, this is a very inefficient process. Many couples who undergo IVF with PGS are often surprised by the high number of abnormal embryos they have in a cycle.
This news can be a shock when couples get the results of their embryo biopsies. But this is all part of being human and it can help explain the many miscarriages that women experience as a whole. Not all of our eggs or embryos are healthy or free of chromosomal abnormalities, and most of them do not have the potential of turning into perfect little babies. But many embryos do. PGD/PGS can help physicians sort out the “good eggs from the bad”, to borrow an expression. And it gives couples the opportunity to produce a healthy child of the gender they’re hoping for.
 S. J. D. West et al., “Sexing the Human Pre-Embryo by DNA – DNA in-situ hybridization,” Lancet 1 (1987): 1345–47.
 A. H. Handyside, E. H. Konotogianni, K. Hardy, and R.M. L. Winston, “Pregnancies from Biopsied Human Preimplantation Embryos Sexed by Y-Specific DNA Amplification,” Nature 334 (1990): 768–70.
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As opposed to some countries in the world, PGD for gender selection is completely legal in the USA and many International families chose to utilize our services at one of our Southern California clinics.