Infertility Treatments

Why are Chromosomes Important?

Why are chromosomes important for a successful pregnancy?

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but the anxiety of having a baby with an abnormal number of chromosomes can be overwhelming. Fear of miscarriage is also a common concern. Difficulty becoming pregnant occurs in 15% of couples trying to have a baby, and miscarriages occur in up to 15% of all pregnancies. A major reason for reproductive difficulty is having either an embryo or a pregnancy with an incorrect number of chromosomes. So, why are chromosomes so important for your reproductive health? To help answer this question, let’s start with what they are.

What are Chromosomes?

Chromosomes are located in the nucleus of each cell containing the DNA comprising genes. Genes are passed from parent to child, making each of us unique. In other words, the answer to the question “Why are chromosomes important?” is that they make you, you. Having the correct number is critically important to experiencing a successful pregnancy. If your embryo does not, then your baby may fail to develop properly. For example, people with Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) instead of the two copies found in other people.

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People have 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Males and females have different sex chromosomes. Females have two X chromosomes in their cells, and males have one X and one Y. Inheriting too many or not enough of these can lead to serious problems. For example, females who have extra copies of the X chromosomes are usually taller than average and have mental retardation. Males with more than one X chromosome have Klinefelter syndrome, a condition characterized by tall stature and often infertility.

Another syndrome caused by an imbalance is Turner syndrome. Women with Turner syndrome have only one X chromosome. They are usually very short, do not undergo puberty, and some have kidney and heart problems.

The Role of PGT in Fertility Care

Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) of a cell biopsied from an embryo can improve the chance of a successful pregnancy by determining which embryo has the correct number of chromosomes and would be thus more likely to make a healthy baby. This technology is especially applicable to couples with infertility who have an otherwise poor prognosis for success—due to advanced maternal age—since the older a woman is, the more likely she is to have an embryo with an imbalance. This technology is also applicable to those with repeated implantation failure where good quality embryos have been transferred, but a successful pregnancy did not occur and in women with recurrent miscarriages, since most are caused by an incorrect number of chromosomes.

If you have questions or would like to know about our new program, IVF Assist Plus, designed with a money-back guarantee to give you a baby with the correct number of chromosomes for the highest chance of a successful pregnancy, please contact us!

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