For immediate release
September 19, 2017 (New York, NY) – An article in the September 18th issue of the New York Magazine tackles the thorny issue of PGS (preimplantation genetic screening). The article, written by science writer Stephen Hall, questions whether the results of PGS can be trusted, and whether the embryos that were deemed abnormal really have no potential of developing into a normal, healthy baby. If the supposedly “abnormal” embryos actually are viable, that would give new hope to patients who thought they’d hit the final wall after infertility treatments like IVF.
The NY Magazine article documents the erroneous disposal of thousands of normal human embryos that could still lead to normal pregnancies, thereby reemphasizing a message we have been trying to bring to public attention since 2010.
This is the first time that a media report addresses the controversies surrounding an elective add-on to in vitro fertilization (IVF), called preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). PGS has recently been renamed preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A). Under the theory that avoiding transfers of chromosomally abnormal embryos PGS/PGT-A improves pregnancy chances of IVF and reduce miscarriage rates, the procedure has been widely advertised to IVF centers and public by the genetic testing industry. In 2016, approximately 20% of all U.S. IVF cycles were accompanied by PGS/PGT-A.
As the piece in New York Magazine in detail describes in extensively quoting CHR’s Medical Director and Chief Scientist, Norbert Gleicher MD, CHR, a leading clinical and research center of worldwide reputation in the area of infertility treatments, has been the principal voice worldwide in opposing the utilization of PGS/PGT-A.
CHR’s longstanding opposition to the utilization of PGS/PGT-A has been based on multiple published studies performed by its investigators, which demonstrated that the procedure not only failed to improve IVF outcomes but, at least in some patient population, actually reduced their chances of conception. Especially older women and women with poor ovarian reserve, who usually produce only small numbers of embryos, are, due to the high number of false-positive PGS diagnoses leading to disposal of normal embryos, at risk for negative outcome effects. As Hall’s article well describes, disposal of false-positive embryos in such women may “dispose” of their last pregnancy chances.
CHR, therefore, already in 2012 started offering poor prognosis patients the opportunity to selectively transfer allegedly chromosomally “abnormal” embryos under an experimental protocol. After 2 normal births following such transfers in 2013, CHR in 2014 formally announced a transfer policy for such embryos, and was joined by 2 other New York city-based centers in a consortium. The New York Magazine piece correctly reports Dr. Gleicher’s first public report of 5 healthy live births by the consortium in 2015. By now, likely close to 100 healthy births have occurred worldwide, thereby creating “A New Last Chance” for infertile women, based on research initiated at the CHR in New York City.
Dr. Gleicher and other members of CHR’s research team are available for further comments.
The CHR is a New York City-based clinical and research fertility center, which serves a worldwide patient clientele as a fertility center of “last resort.”