Recently, we made an innovative change at Fertility Match, and we are beyond excited to share it! In the past few years, a new gold standard in fertility treatment has emerged; Genetic Testing (often referred to as expanded genetic carrier screening). If you require an Egg Donor to build your family, then why would you not use a Donor that has no recessive genes in common with the sperm provider(s)? Especially since confirm a “genetic match” upfront will ensure the embryos created (a.k.a. your future children) will not carry commonly inherited genetic diseases. It also ensures you will not be wasting time and money medically screening a Donor prior to genetic screening or even worse, unknowingly using a Donor that you really should not be due to a genetic issue.
Fertility Match is very proud to be Canada’s only agency that details these genetic screening results on all Egg Donor profiles on our database. This change allows for Intended Parent(s) in our program to know at the time of selection that the egg and sperm provider are not carriers of the same genetic disease or syndrome.
In the past, genetic screening of patients has been a part of the workup prior to fertility treatments if deemed necessary. For example, tests for specific genetic disorders were offered to couples trying to conceive if they were identified at risk because they belonged to an ethnic group with a high risk of certain genetic diseases.
- Ashkenazi Jewish (Tay-Sachs disease and others)
- African American (sickle cell disease)
- Mediterranean and Southeast Asian (thalassemia)
However, with the commercialization of expanded genetic carrier screening in recent years, we can now ensure optimal health of the children born through the Fertility Match Egg Donation Program.
How We Get Our Genes
People get (inherit) their chromosomes, which contain their genes, from the persons who provided the egg and the sperm during conception. Chromosomes come in pairs and humans have 46 chromosomes, in 23 pairs. Children randomly get one of each pair of chromosomes from the egg and one of each pair from the sperm provider. The chromosomes that form the 23rd pair are called the sex chromosomes. They decide if a person is born a male or female. A female has two X chromosomes, and a male has one X and one Y chromosome. Each daughter gets an X from the egg provider and an X from the sperm provider. Each son gets an X from the egg and a Y from the sperm provider.
Genetic disorders can happen for many reasons. Genetic disorders often are explained in terms of the chromosome that contains the gene that is changed in people who have the disorder. If the gene is on one of the first 22 pairs of chromosomes, called the autosomes, the genetic disorder is called an autosomal condition. If the gene is on the X chromosome, the disorder is called X-linked.
Genetic disorders also are grouped by how they run in families. Disorders can be dominant or recessive, depending on how they cause conditions and how they run in families.
If The Donor or Sperm Provider had a Dominant Gene
Dominant diseases can be caused by only one copy of a gene having a DNA mutation, if one egg or sperm provider carries the dominant gene, each child has a 50% chance of inheriting the mutated gene.
If The Donor or Sperm Provider had a Recessive Gene
For recessive diseases, both copies of a gene must have a DNA mutation in order to get one of these diseases. If both the egg and sperm providers have one copy of the mutated gene, each child has a 25% chance of having the disease, even though neither egg sperm provider has it. In such cases, each egg and sperm provider are called a carrier of the disease. They can pass the disease on to the child, but do not have the disease themselves.
Egg and Sperm Donors
In Health Canada’s Technical Requirements for Ova and Sperm Donors, Section 2.1.1, states that Genetic disease screening is necessary by using a “structured questionnaire” which assesses the risk of genetic disease transmission by asking questions about the Donor’s family history.
For people building their families through Third Party Reproduction, actual genetic testing of egg and sperm Donors has become best practise as part of the Donor screening process but is not required by Health Canada yet. Therefore, not all fertility centres educate about or offer this new, life-changing technology. Genetic testing rather than just screening the Donor with a questionnaire, provides the Intended Parent(s) with the comfort of knowing that the match between the sperm provider and Egg Donor will result in the creation of embryos where the risk of passing on a genetic disease or disorder is greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
Fertility Match Canada
Since expanded carrier screening testing can identify flaws in genes for more than 300 genetic disorders, some of which are rare and have few treatments, we truly believe in this new addition to our program for our clientele. As former infertility patients and experts in 3rdparty reproduction, we would want to know this vital genetic information prior to undergoing treatment; therefore, it is simply the right thing to do for our clientele.
With the introduction of our Elite Assurance program, Intended Parent(s) can be comfortable moving forward with their Donor of choice, knowing the match is genetically safe and the risk of passing on a genetic disease or disorder is greatly reduced. If you want to get in touch with us to learn more, we’d love to connect with you: firstname.lastname@example.org