Whitney and Brittany always knew that they wanted to become parents, but they were concerned about the long-standing history of breast cancer in Whitney’s family. Whitney went in for a genetic test and learned that he was indeed a carrier of the BRCA gene. Through a visit to Oregon Reproductive Medicine (ORM) they learned about preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which allowed them to proceed with their plans to have children while significantly reducing the chances of passing the BRCA gene onto their offspring. This gave them peace of mind during pregnancy and in the summer of 2016, they had a healthy baby boy. The entire family, including Whitney’s Mom also a carrier of the breast cancer gene, were thrilled to learn that the new member of the family won’t be affected by the same hereditary cancer that has impacted their lives and the lives of so many of their relatives.
For people like Whitney and Brittany who have a strong desire to eliminate a hereditary cancer syndrome from their lineage, PGD is one of the most powerful tools for preventing the transmission of genetic disease. The PGD process involves using in vitro fertilization to create embryos, which can then be tested for the familial genetic condition. Embryos that are not at risk of the genetic condition are preferentially transferred into the uterus, significantly reducing the chance that the child will be affected by the hereditary cancer.