Facing repeated miscarriages? Consider pre-implantation genetic testing to prevent it

Repeated miscarriage can take a toll on you. So, when you think of options to prevent a failed pregnancy, consider pre-implantation genetic screening.
Repeated miscarriage can be agonising. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Pallavi Prasad Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:11 am IST
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Your pregnancy news may make you jump with joy, but it can be truly heartbreaking if a few weeks or months later, you end up experiencing a miscarriage. If it happens repeatedly, it can be emotionally challenging and draining for couples. Recurrent pregnancy loss, which indicates two or more failed pregnancies, is even more devastating for women. The evaluation and treatment method for repeated miscarriage highly depends on the reasons for failed pregnancy, but debates have always happened over which method is the most effective. You can consider preimplantation genetic screening to prevent a miscarriage.

It all starts with an evaluation, which includes the search for structural, hormonal, infectious and genetic causes which are acting as a hindrance to safe pregnancy. Chromosomal abnormalities account for most such cases. But in many cases, the actual reasons are never identified. In such scenarios, technologies like pre-implantation genetic screening play a major role by helping us identify the underlying problems.

There are many factors that can lead to miscarriages. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Factors that can lead to miscarriages

1. Genetic problems

Most miscarriage cases happen because of chromosomal complications. These factors can interrupt the healthy growth of the embryo.

2. Maternal health condition

The mother’s health has a direct impact on the growing embryo. Uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, infections, hormonal problems, cervical incompetence etc. are some of the common factors that lead to miscarriages.

3. Unhealthy lifestyle

Having an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to miscarriages. Such lifestyle includes smoking, excessive drinking, not having a proper diet or exercise schedule, etc.

miscarriage couple
A miscarriage can be emotionally challenging. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is pre-implantation genetic test?

Pre-implantation genetic test refers to the genetic profiling of the embryos before embryo transfer. The PGS screening process involves testing an embryo for chromosomal abnormalities. Embryos with chromosomal abnormalities will either not result in a pregnancy or will result in a miscarriage or anomalies in the baby. By using PGS technique, doctors can select and transfer healthy normal embryos to the uterus which will reduce the risk of a failed pregnancy.

What happens in PGS?

In PGS, embryos are carefully examined to look for any chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. Usually, PGS is performed at the blastocyst stage of embryonic development wherein 4 to 6 cells are taken from trophectoderm part of blastocyst and sent for genetic testing.

Different types of PGT

1. PGT-A

This refers to the pre-implantation genetic screening for abnormal chromosome numbers. This is indicated in recurrent abortions, advanced female partner age, poor semen parameters and repeated implantation failure in IVF.

2. PGT-M

This procedure is used to test for monogenic (individual) genes. This is indicated when there is a family history of genetic disorders like Thalassemia, Hemophilia etc.


It is used for testing structural errors in chromosomes such as inversion and translocation. This is indicated in cases where parents are carriers of balanced translocations.

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Can PGT help in identifying the right embryo?

Pre-implantation genetic testing is an ideal technique which helps to choose the right kind of embryo that has no genetic or chromosomal defects. This technique will not only help an individual determine the reason for failed pregnancies but also will improve the success rate of fertility treatments. However, the results of genetic profiling will be based on few cells, and it is a limitation as those cells may not be the proper representative of the embryo.

Pre-implantation genetic testing has its advantages and under the right guidance and support, you can significantly increase your chances of pregnancy. It will help the fertility consultant to identify any genetic abnormality or defect in the embryo and will assist in finding the right embryo for embryo transfer. All you have to do is visit a trusted fertility clinic and take recommendations from a fertility consultant.

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About the Author

Dr Pallavi Prasad, Fertility consultant, Nova IVF fertility, Bangalore ...Read More

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