From the Journals

Women express low decision regret after preimplantation testing for aneuploidy



The decision to undergo preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy is associated with a small but not unimportant amount of regret among some patients undergoing fertility treatment, research suggests.

In a report published in Human Reproduction, researchers did an anonymous survey of 69 patients undergoing their first cycle of autologous preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) at a single fertility center.

“Despite the known distress associated with many aspects of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and the many opportunities for distress among patients pursuing PGT-A, little is known about the associated patient experience and psychological risks,” wrote Dr. Kara N. Goldman of New York University Langone Fertility Center, and coauthors.

“A ‘failure’ after PGT-A can present in many forms well before other IVF losses may be experienced: Embryos may not meet criteria for biopsy, PGT-A may result in an all-aneuploid embryo cohort, or a euploid embryo may fail to implant,” the authors continued.

The mean overall decision regret scale score was 8.5 on a scale of 0-100 – with a median of 0 – and 61% of respondents said they had no regrets about undergoing preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy; the remaining 39% reported “any degree of regret.”

This “one-third of respondents reported some degree of regret, suggesting an important opportunity for pretest counseling and support among patients pursuing PGT-A,” Dr. Goldman and associates emphasized.

Of the respondents who then underwent euploid embryo transfer, and who had a known pregnancy outcome, the 36 with an ongoing or delivered pregnancy had significantly less decision regret than the 24 who experienced a negative pregnancy test or a miscarriage.

The study found no differences in decision regret between those aged under or over 35 years of age, those with different levels of educational attainment, or between patients who paid exclusively out of pocket compared with those with any insurance coverage.

However, greater levels of decision regret were seen in patients who had experienced a longer time since retrieval of oocytes and those who said they would consider pregnancy with donor oocytes if they were unsuccessful with IVF and PGT-A.

“Completing a cycle of IVF with PGT-A and obtaining no usable, euploid embryos results in distress, but this distress must be weighed against the alternative scenario in which a patient invests valuable time, energy, and resources into a futile embryo transfer cycle resulting in a negative pregnancy test, miscarriage, or aneuploid gestation,” the authors wrote.

When assessing the dependence of the decision regret score on demographic factors, the researchers found that patients who had learned about PGT-A from their physicians, rather than from other sources such as friends or the Internet, had the highest levels of decision regret.

There was no external funding. One coauthor declared personal fees and other support from the fertility and pharmaceutical sector. No other conflicts of interest were declared.

SOURCE: Goldman KN et al. Hum Reprod. 2019 Jun 21. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dez080.

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