Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing

Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for IVF added to Medicare

Fertility SA provides a comprehensive Genetic testing service. We are ready to support the implementation of the recently announced Australian Government, Department of Health – Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) services being introduced on 1 November 2021, following recommendations from the Medical Services Advisory Committee.

The $95.9 million funding for pre-implantation genetic testing has been dubbed “Mackenzie’s gift”. Mackenzie Casella’s death from SMA inspired her parents to campaign for wider screening and testing for genetic disorders.

What this means is… commencing 1 November those people who are known carriers of genetic diseases, or are eligible for genetic analysis, will be supported by Medicare.

It is understood that we are all carriers of defective genes.

Having a baby with a genetic condition can happen to anyone and often comes down to luck.

PGT is an extra step within the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) process.

PGT is increasingly used as a technology solution and patients are increasingly knowledgeable and aware of their options.

  • The technique allows the selection and transfer of embryos that have been tested for a particular genetic or chromosomal disorder
  • The technique fulfils a similar role to amniocentesis in pregnancy however since it is carried out before the embryo is transferred to the uterus, it avoids the need of making a decision later on about whether or not to terminate due to an inherited specific genetic disorder.

The main indications for PGT are:

  1. Male or female partner with known genetic condition
  2. Women diagnosed as a carrier of X-linked recessive single gene disorder
  3. When both members of a couple are found to be carriers for an autosomal recessive condition
  4. Either parent has an inheritable chromosomal abnormality.

 

At Fertility SA, we recognise individual autonomy in making decisions regarding care.

An individual or couple must feel free to accept or decline the offer of a PGT after having a comprehensive discussion with their fertility specialist and/or clinical geneticist.

Generally, Patients want to reduce the time to pregnancy and are looking for answers if they do not conceive quickly.

Medicare funding will support those individuals or couples who carry a risk of passing on a serious genetic or chromosomal disorder to their child for which there is no cure and which causes a severe limitation on the quality of life.

PGT is carried out on embryos that have reached the blastocyst stage, and so only healthy embryos are implanted during an IVF cycle which maximises the chance of a healthy baby.

Our Fertility Specialists will outline the steps of the PGT of embryos for those individuals and couples who are at increased risk of having a child born with single gene disorder/chromosomal rearrangement and then support their participation in the Medicare funded PGT services.

Fertility SA understands undergoing IVF treatment is physically, emotionally and financially draining and participating in testing that can detect a genetic condition takes away a lot of pressure.

PGT is technically difficult and therefore an expensive process meaning some people may not have had access to in the past, now individuals or couples will have equal access to PGT technology with Medicare support for selective genetic disorders.

The exact details of the rebate are still to be released by Medicare so we’ll bring you more information as soon as we get it.

 

References

abc.net.au/news/2021-10-24/medicare-rebate-ivf-testing-genetic-disorders-mackenzies-gift/100563794

9news.com.au/national/ivf-genetic-testing-for-diseases-like-cystic-fibrosis-and-muscular-dystrophy-to-be-added-to-medicare-list/61818e85-ed0e-404d-9e10-d653be4e2b5d

theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/24/medicare-rebate-to-be-available-for-australians-using-ivf-to-identify-genetic-disorders

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