First Pregnancy Following PGD in an Irish Fertility Clinic

The first confirmed pregnancy in Ireland using a new technique known as ‘Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis” has just been announced by Waterstone Clinic.  

Dr. Tim Dineen, Laboratory Manager at Waterstone Clinic, says “We are delighted to confirm the first pregnancy following Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis carried out in an Irish Fertility Clinic”.

Waterstone Clinic carried out its first PGD treatment for a couple at risk of having children affected by 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. If both partners carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene, there is a one in four chance that their baby will have Cystic Fibrosis which is a debilitating, life-limiting condition, sometimes requiring heart/lung transplant.

Dr. Xiao Zhang, Head of Research and Development at Waterstone Clinic, whose expertise in the area was central to the introduction of the procedure, explained that following the biopsy procedure for this couple, the embryos were frozen by means of ‘vitrification’ with the female partner returning later to have one embryo transferred into the uterus.

PGD is the most complex procedure in IVF. This success in Cork has relied upon the introduction of several new techniques. Waterstone Clinic is one of only two Irish IVF units currently carrying out embryo biopsy. The breakthrough would not have been possible without a robust blastocyst culture system nor without a successful embryo vitrification programme. Dr Zhang says “we are not surprised 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”.

This cutting-edge technique allows people with a specific inherited condition the option of trying to avoid passing it on to their children. PGD will be beneficial for individuals whose offspring are at risk of disease caused by single gene defects or chromosomal disorders. Such conditions include Fragile X syndrome, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Myotonic Dystrophy, Tay-Sach’s disease and Haemophilia.

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