Latest update: 11/05/2017

PGD: what: why and for whom?

If you want children and also have a genetic disorder, you can approach UZ Brussel for special treatment: PGD or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

PGD means that embryos obtained via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are diagnosed genetically first and only then transfered to the uterus.

UZ Brussel Expertise in PGD

The very first PGD was performed in 1990 in Great Britain. Since then PGD has been used in specialised centres around the world.
Since 1993 it has also been performed at UZ Brussel.
In the meantime our PGD clinic has expanded to become one of the leading centres in Europe.

Regarding scientific research into children born of PGD treatment, UZ Brussel is also at the absolute top: as one of the few centres in the world we have consistently monitored all babies that we have helped set foot in the world via this treatment. For the PGD clinic this postnatal follow-up is an indissoluble part of the treatment.


What are your chances of having a baby after PGD-treatment

There are a great many things that you – and here we are speaking mainly about the woman – can do to improve the chance of a successful treatment.
  • Like all women who are considering becoming pregnant or who are taking the first steps in fertility treatment, it is best to start taking folic acid tablets. This food supplement greatly reduces the risk of spina bifida or hare lip/cleft palate in the baby.
  • Do you smoke? Then it is highly recommended that you stop this habit before you start the treatment – and that you keep this up in pregnancy.
  • Are you overweight? If you try to lose the surplus kilos beforehand, you increase the chance of success of your treatment. 
  • As soon as you decide to become pregnant, it is best to abstain totally from alcohol. By doing this you are protecting the fledgling embryo and the baby against a possible risk of FAS, foetal alcohol syndrome.

Would you like any more tips? Read the CRG brochure “What can you do yourself? Health advice for people who would like to have a child”.

And the chances of succes of PGD-treatment?

  • In ICSI each egg in the plate is injected with one sperm cell. With this technique approximately ninety percent of the collected eggs are fertilised and develop into an embryo.
  • However, some of the embryos do not survive the removal of one or two cells.
  • Furthermore there are some embryos that carry the genetic disorder and so are not eligible for return to the uterus.
  • Also some of the embryos are not successfully diagnosed, and some of them are not morphologically good enough to put back.
  • Finally, a replaced embryo does not always implant in the uterus: every returned embryo does not therefore result in a pregnancy.

All in all the chance that you will have a baby following PGD treatment amounts on average to twenty to thirty percent.

It is however difficult to make a generally applicable statement, since the chance of success differs greatly from one individual to another.
It is influenced among other things:

  • by your age (that of the woman),
  • the number of eggs obtained, and
  • the quality of the embryo(s) transferred.
  • The nature of the genetic abnormality also plays a role.

Your individual chance of success is therefore discussed during the consultation with the geneticist and fertility gynaecologist.