Take the financial stress out of IVF with the Sunfish IVF Success Program! Learn more…

Pros & Cons of Genetic Testing for Embryos: Is PGT-A (PGS) Right For You?

When you’re going through IVF, your fertility doctor may talk to you about the option of PGT-A, or genetic testing of embryos for aneuploidy (abnormalities). Previously called PGS (preimplantation genetic screening), this test identifies the number of chromosomes in each embryo, identifying those that have too few or too many (aneuploidy).

While PGT-A testing is enthusiastically welcomed by some, it may not be the right choice for everyone. Let’s go over some pros and cons.

What are the Pros and Cons of Preimplantation Genetic Testing on Frozen Embryos?

Pros of Genetic Screening during IVF

Participating in IVF is a stressful time for many potential parents. PGT-A testing can provide you with the information you need as you decide which embryos to implant.

Genetic testing can increase the quality of the embryo you select

When an embryo has an abnormal number of chromosomes, there are numerous risks that may impact everything from implantation to the health of the baby. PGT-A testing can help your fertility doctor choose an optimal embryo.

Genetic testing can decrease the risk of miscarriage

Certain abnormalities may mean a higher risk that the embryo either won’t implant successfully or develop in a healthy way. Preimplantation genetic testing allows fertility doctors to select embryos most likely to be carried to term.   

Genetic testing of embryos allows you to avoid the possibility of transmitting genetic abnormalities to your child

Your fertility doctor can identify embryos that have chromosomal abnormalities and transfer only those that are likely to result in a healthy pregnancy and child.

Genetic testing allows you to pick the sex of your child

With preimplantation testing, your fertility doctor can identify the sex chromosomes of each embryo and let you decide if you’d like to select embryos based on sex.

Cons of Genetic Screening during IVF

Before you decide on IVF testing, you may want to carefully weigh the potential downsides against the benefits above.

Not all genetic abnormalities are detected through testing

PGT-A does not test for specific conditions but rather looks at the number of chromosomes, which can indicate more generally the risk of problems for the pregnancy and child.

If you’re concerned about passing down a specific disease, you won’t be able to know with PGT-A testing whether this has occurred. For that, a process called PGT-M (preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic/single-gene disorders)* —where embryos are biopsied for certain genetic conditions—is required.   

* PGT-M was formerly called PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis).

Genetic embryo testing can cause it to take longer to conceive

There will be additional time spent in the testing process, especially if the embryos need to be taken to and from another facility for testing. This means a longer time until embryo transfer and, as such, a longer wait to conceive.

Genetic testing may damage the embryos

Though testing has drastically improved over time, the process may damage the embryos if the test is not properly performed. Testing has often been recommended for women over 35 who are more likely to have embryos with abnormal chromosome numbers or women who have had repeated miscarriages. For women under 35, testing may not be worth the risk of potential embryo damage and cost. 

Your fertility doctor will likely inform you of any risks and give you a chance to ask questions. 

Genetic testing may result in the rejection of viable embryos

There have been some cases in which embryos that would normally have been ruled out during PGT-A testing have been transferred anyway and resulted in healthy, live births. Cases such as these have led to some renewed controversy around preimplantation testing and potential for rejecting embryos that may, in fact, be viable. 

Genetic testing may raise ethical questions or concerns

Preimplantation testing has ethical implications for some. For example, those who hold deep convictions about when life begins may oppose the testing and discarding of embryos. Others may oppose embryo selection because they believe it limits natural genetic diversity and may lead to further discrimination against those with disabilities. 

You can fully discuss these or other ethical concerns with your fertility doctor when deciding if PGT-A testing is a good choice for you.

Genetic testing of embryos can be expensive

When you’re considering if IVF genetic testing is worth it, you’ll need to consider the cost. The price of embryo testing can be prohibitive, especially if you’ve used a hefty portion of your funds on other IVF expenses. The cost of PGT-A testing will vary but on average it costs around $5,000.

Begin your IVF Journey with Sunfish

Sunfish is here to help provide the resources you need to cover the costs of all things IVF. If you have questions about how to pay for PGT-A testing or cover any other costs on your fertility journey, we can schedule a complimentary consultation with you to answer them and go over your financial planning options.