7th Jul, 2014
The first birth following Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) carried out in Ireland has just been announced by Waterstone Clinic. A healthy baby girl was delivered safely at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) on Friday June 27th. Dr John Waterstone, Consultant Obstetrician at CUMH and Medical Director of Waterstone Clinic who delivered baby Bridget, said “we are pleased to announce the arrival of the first baby after PGD in Ireland; this is a fantastic day for Patrick and Lisa and an important milestone in Irish Reproductive Medicine”
PGD allows couples at risk of a specific inherited condition to avoid passing it on to their children. Conception takes place through IVF treatment and embryos are tested for the condition before being transferred. Waterstone Clinic’s PGD success involved a couple, Patrick Mullane and Lisa Cooke, who were at risk of having a baby with Cystic Fibrosis, the most common genetic disease in Ireland. One in 19 Irish adults is a carrier of the altered gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis and approximately one in four hundred couples are at risk of having an affected baby. Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating, life-limiting condition, sometimes requiring heart/lung transplant.
PGD is the most technically challenging treatment in assisted reproduction and Waterstone Clinic is one of only two Irish IVF units to have attempted it. The laser assisted embryo biopsy required to remove cells for genetic analysis must be carried out with great precision. Successful PGD is only possible where a robust blastocyst culture system and an efficient embryo cryopreservation programme are already in place.
Dr Xiao Zhang, Head of Research and Development at Waterstone Clinic, whose expertise in the area was central to the introduction of PGD, explained that following the biopsy procedure for this couple, the embryos were frozen by means of ‘vitrification’ with Lisa returning later to have one embryo transferred into the uterus.
Dr Zhang says “we are delighted by today’s success; it is the result of a lot of hard work over the past few years validating and perfecting the underlying laboratory processes”.
Waterstone Clinic continues to lead the way in advancing reproductive medicine in Ireland by offering the latest in assisted conception technologies and achieving success rates comparable with the best in the UK and US.