For many parents pursuing surrogacy and/or egg donation as a family-building method, the term PGD may come up. This reproductive technology is used with an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle and can be used to diagnose genetic disease in early embryos prior to the implantation in your surrogate mother. You may have also heard of the term preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which doesn’t look for specific diseases, but uses PGD techniques to identify at-risk embryos. Here we take a look at how the test works to help you determine if it’s right for you.

How does it work?
PGD begins with IVF that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a lab. Over the next three days, the embryo will divide into eight cells. Then one or two cells are removed from the embryo. The cells are then evaluated to determine if the inheritance of a problematic gene is present in the embryo. Once the procedure has been performed and embryos free of genetic problems have been identified, the embryo is implanted in the surrogate’s uterus in hopes of a successful pregnancy.

What are the benefits of PGD?
The reason intended parents (IPs) opt for PGD is because it can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions. Since the procedure happens before implantation, it allows IPs to decide if they wish to continue with the surrogate’s pregnancy. It’s important to keep in mind, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of conceiving a child with a genetic disorder.

If you’re interested in learning more about PGD testing, talk to your IVF doctor. And if you’re part of our surrogacy agency, Shared Conception, we can help you connect you to the right people.