Is it Worth it to Use Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have an elective procedure is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
PGD is a procedure that’s sometimes used as part of in vitro fertilization (IVF); in IVF, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, combined with sperm in the laboratory, and the resulting embryos are later transferred into the woman’s uterus, where it’s hoped that they’ll implant and cause pregnancy. PGD is used during the embryo incubation phase of the procedure, to choose only those embryos that are genetically healthy for transfer. For more on what it’s like to have PGD, please see Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): the Procedure and Recovery.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective procedure with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the provider who will perform your procedure if you decide to proceed.
Any treatment has risks, and it’s important to be aware of them so that you can weigh them against the benefits.
The use of PGD to screen for diseases that cause death or severe disability, particularly in the childhood years, is relatively uncontroversial. Other uses of PGD are far more controversial. For instance, PGD can be used for sex selection, or for selection for particular personality or physical traits. Many people feel uncomfortable with this form of selection of human beings. This is not currently a widespread use of PGD, but it could become so in the future, as the technology develops. This could be viewed as a risk of PGD.
PGD itself does not appear to pose significant risks. Large studies have found no increase in birth defects or other problems with embryos that undergo PGD as compared to traditional IVF with no PGD. The risks associated with PGD are the risks of the IVF, especially the ovulation induction medications that are necessary to perform IVF. To learn more about these risks, please visit In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Risks and Benefits as well as Ovulation Induction: Risks and Benefits.
For parents who have genetic diseases in their family history that cause severe disability or death, PGD can provide peace of mind during the process of IVF. Some parents with these diseases may feel that they shouldn’t have children, because of the risk of passing on the disease. Yet many feel strongly drawn to have children who are genetically related to them. PGD allows parents to have genetically-related children without the risk of passing on the disease. Even for parents without a family history who are concerned that there may be a genetic disease of which they are unaware, or a chromosomal abnormality (more and more likely as the parents get older), PGD can provide peace of mind during the IVF process, which is already fraught with a variety of concerns and worries for many people.
Although IVF (with or without PGD) carries many risks, many women believe that almost anything is worth enduring for their children. Most people who have children wouldn’t trade them for anything. Although IVF may cause discomfort and carries significant risks, if it allows a woman to become pregnant with her child, these downsides are often quickly forgotten.
The cost for PGD is around $3,200; this is in addition to the regular cost of an IVF cycle, which is around $12,400. The cost varies depending on several factors, including the region and the particular clinic. You should check with the provider(s) you’re considering to determine the exact cost. Keep in mind that financing is often available. For more detail, visit our Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) Cost page.