And is PGS worth the cost?
I am sure this does not come as a surprise to an educated infertility patient in Colorado: in vitro fertilization (IVF) is expensive. Unlike several other states in the nation, Colorado insurance providers by and large do not cover any assisted reproductive technologies.
If IVF is recommended, our patients are often surprised to find out that this treatment is costly (our Basic IVF Package is $11,005). So, why on earth would anyone pay extra for an additional procedure that is essentially elective – PGS?
What is PGS?
Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) is a fertility treatment that checks chromosomes for genetic abnormalities in the embryos created during IVF. PGS drastically reduces the chance of birth defects. This procedure involves two separate steps, including an embryo biopsy and a special test to inspect chromosomes of the embryo. The biopsy is typically performed on the part of the embryo that turns into the placenta and does not endanger the actual embryo.is a fertility treatment that checks chromosomes for genetic abnormalities in the embryos created during IVF. PGS drastically reduces the chance of birth defects. This procedure involves two separate steps, including an embryo biopsy and a special test to inspect chromosomes of the embryo. The biopsy is typically performed on the part of the embryo that turns into the placenta and does not endanger the actual embryo.
Why is PGS offered or recommended?
PGS could be recommended in a variety of scenarios. The most common ones include women in their late 30s and early 40s, and women desiring to transfer only one embryo. Women in their late 30s and early 40s are at high risk to produce chromosomally abnormal embryos. PGS would screen out these embryos that would typically not result in a pregnancy or a live born baby. However, it is not possible to detect these chromosomally abnormal embryos by just looking at the embryos under microscope.
Women transferring only one embryo are often motivated by the fact that one-embryo transfer gives them the best chance of a singleton pregnancy. Singleton pregnancies are far healthier and less risky than twins and other multiple pregnancies in terms of all known health risks. However, one-embryo transfer may decrease chances of pregnancy as compared with a transfer of two embryos. By choosing PGS to screen out genetically abnormal embryos, patients maximize their chances of a singleton pregnancy AND do not decrease their odds of success.
Is PGS cost effective?
Determining whether or not PGS is cost effective (each case will vary is price) depends on each specific case. However, most studies have shown that using and transferring only chromosomally normal embryos dramatically decreases chances of miscarriage and failure to conceive after an embryo transfer.
On average, a woman in her late thirties may generate up to 50 percent (or more) of chromosomally abnormal embryos. If PGS is not done, these embryos are often transferred or frozen for use in the future. If PGS is done, these abnormal embryos that would likely fail or result in a birth defect would not be used for these procedures, therefore resulting in significant savings for most patients.
At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, we believe in patients’ rights and abilities to choose the best option for them. I have said that before and I always try to emphasize this point during counseling. You as a couple (or a patient) should get the most accurate information available that’s specific to your needs and special circumstances. Ultimately, the patient must decide if he or she SHOULD request PGS after all options and alternatives are considered.