Is cell-free DNA in spent embryo culture medium an alternative to embryo biopsy for preimplantation genetic testing? A systematic review.Reprod Biomed Online. 2020 Jun; 40(6):779-796.RB
Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is increasingly used worldwide. It currently entails the use of invasive techniques, i.e. polar body, blastomere, trophectoderm biopsy or blastocentesis, to obtain embryonic DNA, with major technical limitations and ethical issues. Evidence suggests that invasive PGT can lead to genetic misdiagnosis in the case of embryo mosaicism, and, consequently, to the selection of affected embryos for implantation or to the destruction of healthy embryos. Recently, spent culture medium (SCM) has been proposed as an alternative source of embryonic DNA. An increasing number of studies have reported the detection of cell-free DNA in SCM and highlighted the diagnostic potential of non-invasive SCM-based PGT for assessing the genetic status of preimplantation human embryos obtained by IVF. The reliability of this approach for clinical applications, however, needs to be determined. In this systematic review, published evidence on non-invasive SCM-based PGT is presented, and its current benefits and limitations compared with invasive PGT. Then, ways of optimizing and standardizing procedures for non-invasive SCM-based PGT to prevent technical biases and to improve performance in future studies are discussed. Finally, clinical perspectives of non-invasive PGT are presented and its future applications in reproductive medicine highlighted.