How does family balancing work?
Family balancing screening can only be carried out as part of an IVF or ICSI treatment. The process is much the same as for PGS: first, the woman takes drugs to boost her egg production, then her cycle is monitored using ultrasound screenings to establish when the eggs have reached peak maturity.
At that point, the eggs are extracted and placed in a petri dish with the sperm to fertilise (or, in ICSI, each egg will be injected with an individual, pre-selected sperm). Once fertilised, the embryos are left to develop for a couple of days.
This is the stage at which the embryos would usually be transferred to the womb. However, if the couple has chosen to undergo screening for family balancing purposes, an embryologist will now take a couple of sample cells from each embryo. These can be screened for certain genetic conditions and chromosomal problems, as well as to discover the gender of the embryo.