Is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or Egg Donation a solution to avoid passing on a serious genetic disease like sickle cell disease or spinal muscular atrophy? Genetic traits are passed on to children in a few ways. For example, when one of the parents is a carrier of a dominant genetic disease, when both parents are carriers of recessive genetic disease, or when one of the parents is a carrier of a sex-linked genetic disease. Sometimes structural chromosome abnormalitiessimply happen.
If you suspect that you might be a carrier of any genetic disease that runs in your family and you are considering having a child, it is recommended that you and your partner have a genetic test to find out the risk factor. If the woman is a carrier, then having IVF/egg donation can greatly reduce the risk of having an affected offspring. How? Egg donors in all renowned fertility clinics and egg banks are thoroughly screened. Not only they undergo psychological, gynaecological and medical tests, but are also genetically tested for diseases. Did you know that even 50% of egg donor candidates get rejected because they are carriers of some infectious or genetic conditions.
In fact, most of us are healthy carriers of some recessive genetic mutations. So what if you decide to use your own biological material to have a child?If you are both healthy carriers of the same recessive gene, your future baby will have 25% chance of getting the disease and 50% chance that they will be carriers of it. How to rule out the risk completely? The solution can be IVF/egg donation, and using partner’s sperm. However, if your partner is a carrier of a dominant genetic disorder, using donor eggs might not reduce the risk completely. Your future child might still be affected. Prenatal genetic screening might prove to be the solution here. Some fertility clinics use Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT) to analyse 600 most frequent genetic diseases. The test relies on a single blood sample and is based on DNA sequencing – it can detect recessive genetic conditions in parents-to-be. If your partner’s sperm is tested and healthy, you may feel that you have done everything you could to make sure you have a healthy baby. On the other hand, if your partner’s biological material shows some genetic abnormalities, your fertility doctor may recommend you using tested donor sperm.
Whatever option you choose, make sure you select a reliable IVF clinic or egg bank that offers thoroughly screened donors and Genetic Compatibility Tests. With the help of modern science and the latest developments in genomics and embryology, your chances to have a take-home healthy baby are growing day by day.
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