Genetic testing of embryos is designed to uncover specific genes that could result in a disease or chromosomal abnormalities that could prevent a pregnancy from progressing.

Bourn Hall provides pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) testing.

PGD is recommended where there is a known genetic condition present in the family, or if a couple have previously had an affected child. It is possible to test embryos produced in IVF for that particular condition, and only replace those that are normal.

PGS is a less specific test, where embryos are checked for basic chromosome abnormalities (such as Down Syndrome). PGS may be performed in older women, who have an increased risk of abnormality, or in cases where there have been a number of miscarriages in the past.

In both PGD and PGS one or more cells are removed from the embryo after three or five days of culture and sent to a specialist genetics laboratory for testing. The actual embryos remain safely in the laboratory at Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic until the following day when the test results are received. Only healthy, viable, genetically normal embryos are transferred.


Family balancing allows for parents to determine the sex of their baby if it is important that they add specifically a baby boy or baby girl into their family. Sometimes this is referred to as family balancing or gender selection. The gender of an embryo can be determined using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), although this is usually done to check for genetic abnormalities it can also detect the gender of that embryo.

Choosing to do family balancing or gender selection along with your IVF-ICSI does not affect the duration of your treatment. After your egg collection, if the eggs are successfully fertilised, a biopsy is taken from each embryo and tested through PGD. The healthy embryos of the desired gender are then transferred back to the uterus.

The steps involved in IVF may vary from patient to patient depending on the recommended treatment plan but typically involve:

  • 10-12 days of ovarian stimulation with the use of hormone injections. Medication types and doses are monitored with regular scans and blood tests throughout this period
  • On the final day of ovarian stimulation, usually 36 hours prior to your egg collection, an hCG injection will be given in order to mature the eggs
  • Egg collection under sedation or a mild general anaesthetic typically at the same time as sperm collection
  • Insemination or ICSI typically occurs the day of egg collection
  • Embryo transfer is performed two to five days after egg collection, depending on the number and quality of the embryos
  • A blood test to determine pregnancy is performed 14 days after egg collection

Disclaimer: The family balancing service is ONLY permissible in Bourn Hall in the UAE. This service is not available in any other Bourn Hall clinic in the UK or India.