Doctors are now able to screen for potential chromosomal abnormalities in embryos created via In vitro fertilization (IVF). The screening method uses DNA sequencing, known as next-generation sequencing (NGS), in order to identify embryos with the normal number of chromosomes. Many embryos created via IVF carry “lethal genetic abnormalities,” and fail to implant in the womb as a result. The new screening method not only lowers the cost of IVF treatments for couples by increasing pregnancy rates, but also lowers the number of miscarriages for recipients of IVF treatments. Recently a couple in the United States gave birth to the first baby conceived through IVF treatments using NGS.
NGS allows doctors to scan the human genome cheaply and rapidly; and the price for NGS is falling. Some offer caution because of concern that NGS may lead to a generation of “designer babies.” To read more, click here.