“Mosaic” or “aneuploid” embryos per PGT-A? Don’t let them be discarded

There still must be a large number of presumably “chromosomaly abnormal” embryos, either “mosaic” and/or “aneuploid,” out there in cryopreservation tanks of IVF centers. These centers may not be advising their patients that (i) their “abnormal” embryo were not (yet) discarded, as the patients’ informed consent before preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) had called for, and (ii) that at least some of these frozen embryos are potentially transferrable.

Embryos deemed “abnormal” after PGT-A may have real potential to become a healthy baby. Image by Irina Murza via Unsplash.

400+ healthy babies born from “abnormal” embryos

We previously reported in the VOICE that worldwide at least over 400 healthy children have been born after transfer of allegedly “chromosomally abnormal” embryos after PGT-A. In an abstract that was just recently submitted to the annual ESHRE meeting, this year in early July in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with a manuscript being prepared for submission, CHR investigators report on 50 patients who, since CHR’s last publication on the subject in 2016, moved their allegedly “abnormal” embryos from other IVF centers to CHR, since the patients’ IVF centers were not willing to transfer their “abnormal” embryos.

Contact your IVF center if your embryos were tested “abnormal”

Not all of these patients have transferred their embryos yet, but those who did established again quite remarkable pregnancy rates for their ages. Since there must be thousands more of these embryos still in cryo-storage, with often unexpectedly high pregnancy potential, CHR strongly encourages every couple that has undergone PGT-A (previously called PGS) to check with their IVF centers whether their embryos still exist. If they still are cryopreserved, we strongly recommend withdrawing the consent for their disposal and initiating a conversation with the IVF center about which of those embryos may be transferrable. Do not take it for granted that your embryos were disposed of, just because you signed a consent. Because of the controversy, IVF centers have been increasingly reluctant to discard these allegedly “abnormal” embryos.

Since CHR’s physicians usually recommend against PGT-A and perform the necessary embryo biopsy and send it to a reputable PGT-A laboratory for analysis only if patients insist on use of PGT-A, CHR’s experience with transferring allegedly “chromosomally abnormal” embryos has been almost exclusively based on embryos created at other IVF centers. If your IVF center refuses to consider transfers for such embryos, we will gladly advise you, and make arrangements for domestic or international shipment of such embryos to CHR for potential future transfer. The quicker you check on your embryos, the better!

This is a part of the February 2020 CHR VOICE.

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.