in vitroCouples who face infertility often wrestle with the same question, “Why?” While there are a lot of possible answers to that question, some couples have a harder time than others in finding answers. That’s because in some cases, the answer they’re looking for is hidden in DNA. These couples may find it beneficial to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) with Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). So what exactly is PGS?

Essentially, PGS is a test that examines the DNA material of an embryo at the blastocyst stage of development. The test is done by removing a few trophoblast cells (or pre-placental cells) from an IVF embryo, and then determining whether the chromosomal DNA is normal. During PGS, tests screen for the DNA of the 23 pairs of chromosomes. Those embryos that are found to be genetically normal are then used during IVF to give the best chance for a successful pregnancy.

Due to the fact that chromosome abnormalities can lead to early pregnancy loss or failed implantation, women who’ve experienced recurrent miscarriages or multiple failed IVF cycles are likely to benefit from PGS. Because studies show that the rate of chromosome abnormalities is affected by female age, women over 35 could benefit greatly from PGS.

It is important to remember, however, that PGS does not test for a specific disease. That type of testing is known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) which you can  learn more about here.  With PGD, a customized genetic marker is required in order to begin testing.


The ART Fertility Program of Alabama is located in Birmingham, Alabama with additional locations in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. The program is led by Dr. Kathryn Honea, Dr. Virginia Houserman, Dr. Cecil Long and Dr. Chris Allemand who are Board Certified specialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. All are skilled in comprehensive infertility care and offer a complete range of infertility services.

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