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How Genetics Can Affect Pregnancy

How Genetics Can Affect Pregnancy

Patients who have lost a pregnancy or worry that there is a genetic cause to their infertility consider genetic testing to improve the success of pregnancy. If you are trying to conceive and have not been successful, genetic testing can give you insight into your health and how genetics can affect pregnancy.

While most babies are born healthy, approximately 2-3% of babies born have a major congenital anomaly. It could be an extra bone, cleft lip or other structural or chromosomally-generated defect. Multiple approaches exist to reduce the chance of abnormalities in pregnancy, including preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). PGT is the process of screening cells from embryos for genetic diseases and chromosomal disorders. This test is done in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) before the embryo transfer and pregnancy is established.

What Are the Benefits of Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)?

Preimplantation genetic testing can exclude embryos with numeric chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploides). There should be 23 sets of chromosomes with each chromosome having a copy pair. When one chromosome is in abundance, say three copies of 21, the embryo would be labeled as “Trisomy 21”, which is commonly known as Down’s syndrome. Counting abnormalities can occur at any chromosome.

Does Age Increase Genetic Risk in Pregnancy?

The numeric chromosomal embryos increase with age of both parents. The influence of advance maternal age appears greater than the paternal age-associated risk, especially if she is older than 34. Children born from older fathers have an increased risk for new dominant genetic mutations that are caused by some single gene mutations (namely achondroplasia).

When to Consider Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is not essential for all couples and not mandated. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) may improve chances for a successful pregnancy and bring some peace of mind. In order to know if preimplantation genetic testing is right for you, it is important to understand the benefits, challenges, and when to consider preimplantation testing (PGT) as part of treating your infertility. View this previous blog post.

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If you would like to find our more on how genetics can affect pregnancy or when to consider preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), we can help. Our goal is to help each of our patients achieve a successful, healthy pregnancy. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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