Saturday, June 16, 2007

Screening of embryos

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Carrying out checks on embryos for genetic disorders incurs no more risk than standard IVF, researchers suggest.

The latest study from Brussels' Free University looked at the outcomes of 583 children born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

There have been safety questions over this procedure because it is relatively new and involves removing a cell from an embryo at around three days old.

PGD, was first introduced in 1990 as an experimental procedure. It checks fertilised eggs for genetic disorders so that an unaffected embryo can be implanted into the mother's womb, as with conventional IVF.

The UK's fertility watchdog the HFEA has licensed PGD for more than 50 genetic conditions. Researchers around the world have been tracking the progress of PGD babies to monitor the long-term sequelae.

Any medical procedure carried a risk and that this had to be weighed against the benefits - PGD can reveal which embryos could develop fatal or debilitating diseases.

PGD is a relatively rare procedure, used in less than 200 of the 40,000 cycles of IVF carried out in the UK each year.

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Source : bbc




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