Trying to conceive is confusing initially because everyone told you that if you have sex you will get pregnant; so you swallowed pills and fumbled with condoms and pulled out and prayed more often than you care to admit, until you were more than ready to start trying and then all of a sudden…no baby. Then, when you first go online to ask your very own “what the hell is going on” question, you’re thrown into a world of acronyms where you get the impression that we’re all speaking a foreign language. “TTC for 2.5 years with OPKS, got positive on CD12 with EWCM and BD with DH but now it’s 14DPO with no sign of AF and got a BFN on a HPT (it was FRER too) but I didn’t use FMU and my CM is watery so maybe it’ll turn into a BFP if I POAS on 15DPO? This TWW is driving me crazy! FX for me ladies!” …WTF?!
The confusion doesn’t stop there though. Acronyms are commonly used in the medical field, and for good reason too: who wants to say that they had a hysteroscopy polypectomy after their saline infusion sonohysterography showed a polyp and their intrauterine insemination was canceled? (which is, of course, exactly what happened to me in March.) When you visit with your RE to discuss the big IVF (you know, In Vitro Fertilization: the thing where you walk into your doctor’s office and request that they make a baby for you), they’re going to bring up some brand new acronyms now that you finally just got comfortable with the online lingo. Nothing to worry about though – because I’m here to make sure you can walk into your appointment and wave off your RE like the infertile queen you are when they start to explain what ICSI is.
What it is – Preimplantation Genetic Screening (or Diagnosis). The screening is more like a check mark to say “yes, this embryo looks generally healthy” chromosomally speaking, whereas the diagnosis is testing for genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis (which is the only real example my RE felt like giving me).
Why you might need it – If you know that you and your partner are carriers of genetic abnormalities that you do not want to pass on to future babes, then this might be the test for you! For instance, if you do genetic testing and you find out that you both carry a certain abnormality (and don’t be surprised when you test positive – we all have something, which is the only thing that gets me through the day sometimes), then there’s a 25% chance that a child you conceive could have that abnormality as well. This testing (PGD) can check your embryo for that specific gene prior to implantation (hence the ‘preimplantation’ part) and you can avoid invasive testing later in your pregnancy. PGS may be a good choice if you have RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss), as it will be able to determine if the embryo has the usual amount of chromosomes and therefore should have a higher chance of resulting in a successful pregnancy. Depending on where you’re having your IVF procedure done, your RE might strongly encourage this screening if you’re (*gulp*, don’t hate me!) “older”.
Why you might want it – PGS can also determine the male/female embies, so when they hand you your Baby’s First Embryo Photo you can turn to your husband and exclaim, “She has your eyes!” (Side note: my RE’s office doesn’t take pictures of embryos before implantation and I feel like I’m seriously missing out.)
Things to consider – per my RE, the results could take 6-8 weeks to get back. Also, most insurance companies don’t cover this genetic testing, and even if you’re paying out of pocket already – it could be a hefty additional cost (like, a per embryo cost). The time and financial commitment may be enough to deter you, but there’s also the fact that you could end up wasting perfectly good embryos due to the biopsy damaging little embies, or being performed at the wrong time and therefore giving an incorrect result. Read More »