Non-Invasive Chromosomal Screening (NICS)
Human embryos are prone to chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities, and this risk increases with increasing age, significantly after the female age of 35. The selection of the healthy embryos that are more likely to give healthy live births is very challenging in IVF/ICSI. Universally, selection is based on embryo morphology (appearance) that does not always correlate with genetic status. Embryos which totally appear normal may very well also carry genetic defects. Testing the embryos offer direct evaluation of chromosome status and will enhance the rate of implantation and clinical pregnancy.
What is Non-Invasive Chromosomal Screening NICS?
Non-invasive chromosomal screening (NICS) is a breakthrough emerging technology in fertility industry. NICS enables us to identify genetically normal embryos to be transferred into the mother’s uterus (womb) and most importantly - without needing an embryo biopsy. By doing so, we avoid unnecessary embryo transfers with genetically abnormal embryos. This indirectly increases success rate of the IVF cycle. In summary - it reduces the time to pregnancy.
Which couples get benefitted with NICS?
- Couples with mother over the age of 35
- Women who had recurrent pregnancy loss
- Women who had multiple (>2) failed IVF cycles
- Couples with family history of genetic issues
- Couples with previous genetically affected baby
What happened during NICS procedure?
- Initial 3 days is same as any Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- Well progressed embryos are cultured individually until 5 days.
- As the embryo evolves, the cell free DNA from the blastocytes cells spread into the culture media.
- A very tiny amount (20 microliters) of this culture medium is sent to the genetic lab for testing chromosomal makeup.
- The embryo is left undistributed and is frozen in liquid nitrogen at -1970
- No biopsy done.
How long does the report take?
Report can take up to 3-4 weeks.
What does the report say?Report may say
- Embryo is normal and suitable/recommended for embryo transfer
- Embryo is abnormal and not suitable/not recommended for embryo transfer
- Embryo is mosaic (slightly abnormal) and is recommended for embryo transfer with caution. In such cases, once the woman is pregnant up to 4 months, fluid around the baby is sent for chromosomal screening (amniocentesis and karyotyping)
What are the benefits of NICS Procedure
- Non-traumatic and effective method for screening the embryos
- Does not affect the embryo (Non-Invasive)
- Increases chances of successful implantation of embryo
- Saves time of unsuccessful pregnancies and avoidable visits
- Alternative to invasive embryo biopsy (PGT-A)
Difference between PGT-A and NICS
Preimplantation genetic testing for anomalies (PGT-A) is an invasive embryo biopsy procedure which involves taking a biopsy of few cells from Day 5 embryo i.e., the blastocytes.
- PGT - A is an invasive procedure and the NICS is Noninvasive.
- PGT - A requires embryo biopsy, NICS does not involve embryo biopsy.
- In PGT-A few cells from outer layer of the blastocyst stage embryo are sent for genetic testing, where as in NICS embryo is untouched and the culture medium is sent for genetic screening.
- NICS is a safer procedure and gives equal success rates and long-term outcomes and safety of the offspring as in comparison with PGT-A, with no biopsy.
If you are struggling to have a baby, get in touch with the fertility experts at Genesis Fertility and Laparoscopy Centre. They will help you with your medical check-up, diagnose the underlying fertility disorders, and address your concerns before suggesting a genuine treatment to help you conceive and deliver a healthy baby.
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