Risks to the child
As far as we know, the removal of one or sometimes two cells (biopsy) during the eight-cell stage does not have a negative effect on embryonic development. Nor have there been any reports of increased risk of congenital defects in children who underwent PGD. However, it should be emphasised that there is little literature as yet on this new technology. In the clinical trials conducted so far, ‘PGD children’ were compared with children born through IVF/ICSI. No evidence was found to suggest that children born following PGD had more congenital defects than children born without PGD. Women who become pregnant following PGD are asked to consent to follow-up questions on their children’s health.
Risks to the mother
The risks to the woman associated with PGD are similar to those associated with IVF. The risks of complications associated with IVF run in the single digits, percentage-wise. A relatively common complication arising from ovarian stimulation is ovarian hyperstimulation. This means that too many follicles are ripening in the ovaries, which may result in the female experiencing stomach aches and retaining water. In some cases the treatment may have to be terminated, and hospitalisation may be required. Other complications may include bleeding and infection. Your gynaecologist will be able to tell you more about this.
If the woman carries a hereditary predisposition to a disorder herself, additional preliminary testing will often be required to determine whether it is safe for her to undergo IVF and become pregnant.