Genetics: You, Me and PGD

Investigators are seeking couples for a study of decision-making in preimplantation genetic diagnosis

by Quest Staff on July 23, 2009 - 2:34pm

Update 5/21/12: This study is closed, and results are available at Decision Making About PGD Is Complex, Study Finds. Information about future studies will be posted at PGD: Couples' Decision Making when available.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a way for couples to avoid passing along a hereditary disease to their offspring by pre-screening embryos.

But even as knowledge about and technology to perform PGD continue to expand, so too do concerns about the safety, feasibility and stress associated with the decision.

A team of nurses, doctors and a psychologist at the University of Illinois-Chicago is conducting a study to understand how couples make decisions about PGD.

The researchers are particularly interested in learning about couples who have muscular dystrophy or related disorders in the family, says principal investigator Patricia Hershberger.

About PGD

In PGD, a human embryo created by in vitro fertilization (in a lab dish), has one of its five to eight identical cells removed and analyzed for specific disease-causing DNA variants. Embryos found not to have the specific genetic disorder under consideration become candidates for implantation into a woman's uterus.

According to a British study published online June 30, 2009, in the journal Human Reproduction, embryos that have undergone PGD and subsequent freezing survived as well as those that didn't undergo PGD and were then frozen, and they were equally likely to result in pregnancy.

About the study

Couples will participate in a private research interview by telephone or e-mail, in which they will share how they decided to either accept or decline the use of PGD. Participants also will answer a short questionnaire. All couples will receive a $50 gift card for participating in the study.

For more details, including eligibility requirements and contact information, see PGD: Couples' Decision Making in the clinical trials section of MDA’s Web site.

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