Australia will fund pre-implantation genetic testing for couples seeking IVF treatment
The government has said it had made the decision to prevent parents from passing serious genetic disorders onto their children.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference to announce the plans: “That means that if there is a fertilised egg that is clear of SMA or fragile X, they can go-ahead with IVF, go-ahead knowing this beautiful young child can be born free of the condition which might otherwise lead to an agonising one or two years of life.
Until recently, couples had to pay for the treatment out of their own pocket.
What is PGS testing?
PGS, or more recently renamed PGT-A, is when a biopsy of cells from the embryo is removed to check the number of chromosomes that it has.
(PGS stands for Preimplantation Genetic Screening and PGT-A stands for Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidies).
PGS can only be performed on fertility treatment cycles involving an egg collection, to screen embryos created in the lab, before an embryo transfer is planned. This enables the selection of the embryo with the best chance of implanting and achieving a successful and healthy pregnancy, based on the genetic status of the embryo. PGS also avoids using embryos that would fail to implant or create abnormal pregnancies that would either miscarry or lead to fetal abnormalities.
The Australian government has pledged to spend A$95 million for PGT testing services through Medicare.
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