Tuesday 11 November 2014

Why people choose to proceed with egg donation?

  Women whose own eggs do not result in a viable pregnancy choose to proceed with egg donation. Some of the reasons why a woman’s own eggs cannot be used and lot more information about this procedure explained here.

  1. Premature ovarian failure is a leading cause where women stop producing eggs at an early age. There are cases where women go into early menopause in their early 20s. Women suffering from premature ovarian failure can no longer produce healthy eggs that can lead to pregnancy.
  2. Some women are born without ovaries, in which case the only possibility of having a baby is through egg donation.
  3. Women who go through chemotherapy or radiotherapy whose ovaries may have been damaged by the treatment may also need this procedure
  4. Women who produce eggs but have genetic diseases could also choose egg donation to ensure healthy children.
  5. Older women with diminished ovarian reserves or older women who are going through menopause could also become pregnant with egg donation.

Egg Donors

Use of donated eggs results in a highly enhanced pregnancy rates in the region of 75% - 80%. This is due to the egg donors’ proven fertility. Egg donors go through strict screening to ensure that the egg donation will be successful. Most egg donors are below the age of 30 with proven ovarian reserves. They are also screened for genetic diseases and a psychological examination is performed.

The donated eggs can either be provided by an egg donor or by the receiver couple’s friends or family. Depending on the regulation of the country, it can be totally illegal (e.g. Italy, Germany) or the egg donors could be known or anonymous. In anonymous egg donation, the clinic matches the most suitable donor for the couple based on physical characteristics.

Egg donation is performed in a very similar way to normal IVF procedure except that the egg of a donor is used for fertilization. The fertilized egg (embryo) is then transferred to the female who otherwise could not use her own eggs. The pregnancy then develops normally. This greatly enhances the probability of a successful pregnancy.

In addition to traditional couples, recently gay couples have begun to use this procedure and surrogacy to become parents. However, there are only very few countries in the world where allow this in their regulations.
With the huge improvement of success rates, egg donation has really become a great hope for couples wishing to have babies where the woman could otherwise not conceive.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

What is PGD?

PGD stands for Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and is a genetic screening that can be performed in IVF treatments. During IVF treatment, the female egg is fertilized with the sperm in a laboratory environment outside the human body. The embryo is usually observed for 5 days for desirable progress before implantation back to
the female uterus. This 5-day period allows a genetic screening to be performed on the embryo in order to determine if the embryo has a genetic disease passed from the parents. This ensures that the embryo selected for transfer is free from genetic disease.
Pgd Treatment

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46. 22 of these pairs are called autosomes and are the same for both males and females. The 23rd pair is the gender chromosome, which is different in males and females. Typically, in PGD analysis, 5-9 pairs of chromosomes are analysed for the most common genetic diseases.  This type of genetic testing enables genetic disease like Monosomy, Trisomy, Down’s syndrome to be screened. In some cases, PGD is performed to enable gender selection for families having a preference for a certain baby gender. It is also worth to note that some genetic diseases only affect a certain gender. For example genetic diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy or Haemophillia A only affect males, hence making it important to know the baby gender before implantation.

PGD is a general name given for all pre-implantation genetic testing and many other types of genetic testing can also be performed. The type of genetic testing to be performed can be decided based on the family history of genetic diseases.

Only drawbacks of PGD is that during the biopsy phase (a cell has to be removed from the embryo to enable genetic testing) damage could occur inhibiting the development of the embryo. In addition, despite having extremely high success rates (over 99%), the PGD screening may end up being inconclusive.

To summarize, in general families with genetic disorders, older women, women who had several miscarriages and couples wishing to do gender selection usually choose to proceed with PGD. Performing PGD helps avoid abortion when a genetic anomaly is found later in pregnancy.