Recent advances in reproductive genetic technologies.

G Levinson
C B Coulam
W C Spence
R J Sherins
J D Schulman


New possibilities for the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive and genetic disorders are becoming available as a result of a series of recent technical advances. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) allows treatment of numerous infertile men whose sperm cannot penetrate the egg to initiate fertilization. Molecular genetic testing provides clients of reproductive age with additional information that permits prevention of genetic diseases such as fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) offers couples who carry genetic disorders the prospect of having children with a greatly decreased risk of initiating a pregnancy involving an affected individual. Flow-cytometric sperm separation offers a new, effective approach for prevention of X-linked genetic disorders. Two major causes of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) involve recurrent trisomies and immunological disorders. Of the latter, 70% of studied populations of patients can attain live births with simple treatment protocols. Maternal serum assays involving multiple markers reduce both false positives and false negatives in detection of trisomies. Despite these advances in research, many safe and effective methods of diagnosis and treatment remain under-utilized in the clinical arena.