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Should Donor Eggs Undergo Genetic Testing?
(Text on screen): Fertility Authority, Your Most Trusted Source
Ask the Experts
Should donor eggs undergo genetic testing?
Dr. Michael Mersol-Barg, Director, Center for Reproductive Medicine Surgery and Michigan Egg Bank: What we've learned is,
it's better to test the donor herself rather than her eggs.
In our body, we have two cell types: our main body cell type, which is our somatic cells, and then our gametes,
which are called our germ cells. Not to be infectious or anything.
And we know that there can be different abnormalities with either, but what you really want to know is,
what does the individual carry that likely she'll pass on?
And that would be, actually, testing her with a blood test, checking out her own genetics for certain abnormalities.
There's variability in eggs and sperm from egg-to-egg, sperm-to-sperm.
So, when you think you're testing one thing that will be representative of all the other eggs will be incorrect,
and our better estimate is to zoom out, get the big picture on her genetic background with genetic counseling
and perhaps some specific tests to screen for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, also Fragile X Syndrome as a carrier.
And there are other things related to their family history: if they have a Jewish background, the Ashkenazi Jewish Panel,
thalassemia, and sickle-cell diseases, hemoglobin abnormalities.
So, really, meeting with a genetic counselor, as all of our egg donors do, we get a very thorough background.
Even French Canadians can have Tay-Sachs disease as a carrier state, even if they don't have a Jewish background.
So, we're very detailed-oriented on the individual and their initial interview and evaluation
prior to even harvesting their eggs.
Testing eggs genetically is too variable and unreliable at this time to do.
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