FAQs - PGD Assistance Program
Q. What is PGD?
A. PGD stands for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. The process is an extension of standard IVF. In a standard IVF cycle, the woman's ovaries are stimulated with hormones so that more eggs come to maturity than in an unstimulated menstrual cycle. These eggs are collected and fertilised with the male partner's sperm in the laboratory. Eggs that successfully fertilise (embryos) are supported for five days in special incubators that mimic the conditions in the uterus.
For more information about IVF treatment, please visit the Genea website.
PGD involves carefully removing small number of cells from an embryo for analysis. From this tiny sample Genea can determine whether an embryo has Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease or any of a wide range of other genetic problems.
Most commonly, PGD is used where a couple is aware of the possibility that their offspring will inherit a genetic disease. Even though they may not have a problem with infertility, they choose to undergo a stimulated IVF cycle with the aim of producing a number of embryos.
Genetic material from these embryos is tested to see if they carry the genetic disease, and only embryos that do not show the disease are transferred.
PGD requires the biopsy or removal of cells from each suitable embryo for analysis.
At Genea, our advanced embryo culture techniques allow us to wait until the embryos have reached the optimum fifth day of development when they can have a hundred or more cells, and then remove three to four at a time. Other clinics conduct the biopsy at Day 3 of the embryos' development when they consist of just six to eight cells, and only a single cell is removed, greatly reducing the number of opportunities for success.
By waiting until embryos have reached the blastocyst stage, Genea scientists can select cells from the trophectoderm, the part of the embryo that will go on to form the placenta. The inner cell mass, the part that will become the baby, is not touched.
For more information about PGD treatment, please visit the PGD section of the Genea website.
Q. Who is eligible for the PGD Assistance Program?
A. All Australian residents with a Medicare card are eligible to apply, however, only those who can prove financial hardship will be considered for the PGD Assistance Program.
This Program has been created to provide financial assistance to those families in the community who would otherwise be unable to afford PGD. A combination of incoming family finances and outgoing expenses will be reviewed and considered by the selection committee.
As a guide, a couples’ combined income needs to be under $90,000 pa to be eligible for consideration by the Selection Committee for assistance. The Committee will also take into account the value of the couples’ assets.
The Program is based in Sydney, NSW and at this stage does not provide travel or accommodation assistance so all successful patients will need to provide their own travel and accommodation if they currently live outside of Sydney.
Q. Are there any costs outside of the Program?
A. All successful patients will be required to meet certain costs. This cost is for the pre-treatment ultrasound and non PBS medications (approximately $500 per cycle - dependent on cycle type) and the first trimester screen (approximately $300). These costs fall outside of the PGD Assistance Program.
Q. What kind of healthcare professional can support my application?
A. Healthcare professional must be familiar with your genetic history or need for PGD can support your application. This includes your Clinical Geneticist, Genetic Counsellor, Fertility Specialist, etc. General Practitioners (GP), Nurses, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Naturopaths, etc cannot support the application. Your supporting healthcare provider may be contacted for more information on your particular situation.
Q. What should I include in my supporting statement?
A. This statement should make clear your situation and any hardships you are facing as well as your plans for the future.
Q. What does "affected" mean in regards to the application form i.e. 'number of affected children'?
A. "Affected" means a child that has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder.
Q. When will I find out if my application has been successful?
A. The PGD Assistance Program Selection Committee meets throughout the year to assess applications. All applicants and, if successful, their supporting healthcare professional will be notified of the outcome of their application once the Committee has made their decision.
Q. What will happen with my personal information?
A. Please be assured that the data collected via any PGD Assistance Program forms will be held in strictest confidence and only used for the purpose of your participation in the Program.
The application forms that are provided to the PGD Assistance Program Selection Committee for assessment will be de-identified so no personal information, such as names, address or date of birth, are provided.
Q. Where do I send documents to support my application form (e.g. copies of tax returns)
A. All supporting documents must be received before an application can be considered by the committee. Please make sure they are clearly marked with your names.
The address to send documents is:
PGD Assistance Program Secretary
GPO Box 4384
Sydney NSW 2001