A new study that has just been published has found no adverse affect on resulting children from performing PGD:
ScienceDaily (Dec. 23, 2009) — The largest and longest running study of children born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening has shown that embryo biopsy does not adversely affect the health of babies born as the result of a subsequent singleton pregnancy.
The Belgian research, which is published online in the January issue of the journal Human Reproduction, is the best answer to date to the question of whether removing a cell or two from an embryo to screen it for inherited conditions or genetic abnormalities can, in itself, put the subsequent foetus and baby at greater risk of other health problems.
Professor Inge Liebaers, head of the Centre for Medical Genetics at the University Hospital Brussels and a member of the Department of Embryology and Genetics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), and colleagues have been collecting data on all pregnancies, deliveries and babies born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening (PGD/PGS) at the VUB since 1992. The current study looks at the health of all the children born between 1992 and 2005; 581 babies were examined at two months old and questionnaires were sent to parents and physicians at the time of conception and delivery.
The same group of researchers has also been following the health of children born with the help of the assisted reproductive technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); in order to determine whether potential differences in outcome were exclusively related to the embryo biopsy in PGD and not to assisted reproduction technology (ART) in general, the PGD/PGS babies were compared with a control group of ICSI children.
There was no statistically significant difference in outcome between the two groups in the gestational ages at delivery, birth weights and major malformations. There was no difference in the numbers of deaths around the time of birth between PGD/PGS and ICSI babies if they were born as a result of singleton pregnancies. However, there were five times more perinatal deaths after multiple pregnancies in the PGD/PGS babies compared to the ICSI babies (11.73% versus 2.54%).
The authors write: “The major finding is that embryo biopsy does not seem to change the risk of major malformations nor does the biopsy seem to add risks to the health of newborn singleton PGD/PGS children.” However, they add: “A point of concern in this study was the multiple PGD/PGS children being more often premature and of low birth weight.”
Prof Liebaers said: “It is fair to say that from the data of our study and taking into account the limitations of the study (number of children born, time-frame of follow-up) that the health of the singleton children born after embryo biopsy for PGD is similar to the health of singleton children born after IVF/ICSI.