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A common in vitro fertilization procedure offered to patients with the promise of increasing their likelihood of successful pregnancy actually does not improve healthy patients’ chances of going home with a baby, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

The study focuses on preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy, or PGT-A, which screens embryos for chromosomal abnormalities that could keep them from implanting. The diagnostic tool has been controversial for decades, since no rigorous studies have conclusively proven the test improves the odds of having a baby. Studies as far back as 2007 showed an earlier, more invasive version of the test, called PGS, harmed patients’ chances of having a child. Nonetheless, PGT-A has been sold to prospective parents across the world, bolstering the multibillion-dollar industry of reproductive medicine.

Clinicians and researchers told STAT say they believe most providers have good intentions, but they are still offering patients an unproven, expensive, and possibly risky procedure.

“I do not suspect that clinics have been performing PGT-A for financial reasons in face of the realization of... see more