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Stem Cell Research

Making a Difference by Donating Instead of Discarding

The donation of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) tested and affected embryos to stem cell research at the University of Michigan

For couples with a family history of a specific inherited disease, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) makes it possible to build a family without the risk of passing on the known disease to their children. In addition, many couples today perform Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS; also known as aneuploidy screening) to alleviate the potential of transferring embryos with the incorrect number of chromosomes and thus increasing the opportunity to conceive.

Inherent in both processes is the production of embryos which test positive for genetic defects. Typically, these disease-affected and abnormal embryos are deemed “not suitable for implantation” and are discarded. Couples now have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the diseases, many times present in their families, by donating these otherwise discarded embryos to embryonic stem cell research at the University of Michigan’s Stem Cell Program.

Embryos carrying any single-gene disease for which PGD testing is available, chromosomally abnormal embryos, and embryos with translocations may be donated to this Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved study.

Is it difficult to donate?

Not at all. Prior to beginning their IVF cycle, couples interested in donation of PGD and/or PGS tested and disease affected embryos review and sign an informed consent document provided by the University of Michigan. During the consent review, our Study Coordinator will speak by phone with both the female and male interested in embryo donation to answer any questions they may have. The Study Coordinator also works directly with each couple’s fertility healthcare provider to facilitate the embryo donation process.

Where can I learn more?

Visit the University of Michigan Stem Cell Program website

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