Under the Microscope: Blastocyst Biopsy
The above embryo was biopsied to test for the BRCA1 gene. This is an example to share that not all preimplantation genetic screening is done for sex selection or for aneuploidy screening. For some patients we can genetically screen the embryo for specific diagnoses. This is called PGD or Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
The procedure is the same in our lab. We pull the trophectoderm cells out from the zona, use the laser to break the joins between the cells, and biopsy a few cells which we then send to the genetics lab for testing.
We do our best to minimize any harm or damage to the embryo. Overuse of the laser can burn too many cells on the outside and reduce the rate of survival for the embryo.
The human embryo is marvelous in its ability to repair itself after we sample a few cells from the trophectoderm.