PGD is a laboratory procedure that is used with IVF to assist in detecting single gene diseases. Families affected by an inherited disease can reduce the risk of passing it on to their offspring using IVF with PGD. This has been used extensively at the Cape Fertility Clinic in Cape Town since 2003.

How is PGD performed?

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis begins with the normal process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a laboratory. During the next 3 days the embryo will divide into 8 cells. PGD involves these steps:

  • Firstly, 1 or 2 cells are removed from the embryo
  • The cells are assessed to check if there is a problematic inheritance gene in the embryo
  • After the PGD procedure has been performed and the embryos free of genetic problems have been identified, the embryo is placed back in the uterus so implantation can take place
  • Any other genetic problem free embryos may then be frozen for later use while those embryos with chromosomally abnormal genes are destroyed

Who can benefit from PGD?

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis can benefit any couple at risk of passing on a genetic disease/condition. Those at risk could be:

  • Carriers of sex linked genetic disorders
  • Carriers of single gene disorders
  • Individuals with chromosomal disorders
  • Women age 35 or more
  • Women with recurring pregnancy loss
  • Women with multiple failed fertility treatment

What are the benefits of PGD?

  • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis can test for more than 100 genetic conditions
  • It is performed before embryo implantation, allowing the couple to decide if they wish to continue with the pregnancy
  • It allows couples to have their own biological children who might not have done so otherwise


If you are interested in PGD, please discuss with your doctor, genetic counsellor or a fertility specialist to discuss your options.