PGS stands for pre-implantation genetic screening, and refers to testing for overall chromosomal normalcy of embryos, produced following IVF.

PGD, on the other hand, stands for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and involves removing a cell from an IVF embryo, in order to test it for a specific genetic condition (thallasaemia or cystic fibrosis, for example) before transferring the embryo into the uterus.

There are 3 stages at which embryos can be biopsied:

  1. Polar body biopsy is performed at an early stage when the polar body of the egg is removed for testing.
  2. Biopsy at the cleavage stage is performed on day 3 of embryo development, when the embryo usually has 8 cells. One cell can then be removed from the embryo for genetic testing
  3. Trophectoderm biopsy. It is performed at the blastocyst stage (5th day of the embryo’s development)

Embryos, however can be damaged by the biopsy procedure, particularly on day 3 embryo biopsies.

PGS/PGD is usually indicated in:

  • Female partner age of 38 or older
  • Patients with 3 or more failed attempts
  • Patients with more than 3 (recurrent) miscarriages
  • Patients with a known genetic disorder or those who carry chromosomal translocations
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