The Embrace test: non-invasive preimplantation genetic testing

By (embryologist), (senior clinical embrylogist) and (biochemist).
Last Update: 10/25/2022

The Embrace test is a type of non-invasive preimplantation genetic test that makes it possible to analyze embryos obtained by in vitro fertilization (IVF) without the need to take a biopsy.

This non-invasive method of genetic analysis is especially recommended in those patients who have undergone several unsuccessful IVF cycles or for older women, among other situations.

What is non-invasive embryonic genetic analysis?

The non-invasive preimplantation genetic test, also known by its acronym niPGT-A is a method of genetic analysis that does not require biopsy of the embryo, unlike preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). In this case, embryos are cultured in the laboratory until day 5-6 of development, until they reach blastocyst stage.

Subsequently, the drop of medium where the embryo was found is collected, since it is at this moment when the greatest amount of DNA can be found. This culture medium is analyzed in order to evaluate the embryos and to know which of them are healthy and which have genetic alterations. Blastocysts will be vitrified pending results.

Once the results of the genetic analysis are received, the endometrium will be prepared and the best embryos will be transferred.

What does the Embrace test involve?

This is a non-invasive preimplantation genetic analysis method that allows the genetic load of embryos to be determined without having to perform an embryo biopsy. It should be noted that before taking the Embrace test it is necessary to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF).

If you need to undergo IVF to become a mother, we recommend that you generate your Fertility Report now. In 3 simple steps, it will show you a list of clinics that fit your preferences and meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, you will receive a report via email with useful tips to visit a fertility clinic for the first time.

To date, the Embrace test offers results with 80% reliability. Therefore, this non-invasive genetic test will help the staff to prioritize the embryo to transfer, but not to discard.

Indications for the Embrace test

The Embrace test or non-invasive preimplantation diagnosis is especially recommended in the following situations:

  • Repeated miscarriage
  • Patients with implantation failure.
  • Women of advancing maternal age.
  • Men with chromosomal alterations in their spermatozoa.
  • Patients whose embryos are not of sufficient quality to be biopsied.

Although these are the most important indications, this does not mean that it cannot be applied in other situations. All patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments are eligible for a non-invasive preimplantation analysis in order to optimize the number of embryo transfers and better embryo selection if desired.

What are the advantages of the Embrace test?

The main benefit of this type of non-invasive genetic analysis is that it increases the chance of having a healthy baby. The Embrace test classifies embryos according to their probability of being healthy. Therefore, the genetically healthier embryos will have better scores than those with some alteration. Thus, the embryos with the highest scores will be transferred first after genetic testing.

Another advantage of the Embrace test is that it reduces clinical costs by eliminating the need for embryo biopsy. For this reason, many more women will be able to benefit from this analysis.

In addition, the Embrace test reduces the risk of miscarriage and implantation failure, thus reducing the number of embryo transfers and attempts to achieve the patients' dream of having a baby.

FAQs from users

How are the results of the non-invasive preimplantation genetic test interpreted?

By Muriel Cuadros M.Sc. (senior clinical embrylogist).

The non-invasive preimplantation genetic test consists of the analysis of the free DNA found in the culture medium in which the embryos are developing, so it is not necessary to perform any procedure on the embryo itself. Only the culture medium will be analyzed.

The result of this study will give us the probability of these embryos to be euploid (healthy) so that, among those with a higher probability of being healthy, they will be selected for transfer, also taking into account those with better morphology and an adequate embryonic development.

Does the ni-PGD test damage the embryo?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

No. The ni-PGD, or Embrace, test is a method of non-invasive preimplantation genetic diagnosis that does not require any embryo biopsy, unlike standard preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

This method uses the culture medium that has surrounded the developing embryo during its 5 days of development and thefore contains traces of its DNA. The embryo itself is not manipulated.

When can embryos be transferred after a ni-PGD test?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

An exact moment does not exist, as it would depend on how busy the laboratory is and how long it takes to get the results. However, once the result of the test are available the patient can proceed with the endometrial preparation as soon as possible.

This type of genetic analysis is not available in all fertility centers, but this is not the case with PGD. If you want more information about preimplantation genetic diagnosis, we recommend visiting the following article: What is preimplantation genetic diagnosis?

In the event that no embryo is suitable for transfer, an alternative would be to resort to IVF with donated gametes. We invite you to visit the following article for more information: What is third-party reproduction?

We make a great effort to provide you with the highest quality information.

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FAQs from users: 'How are the results of the non-invasive preimplantation genetic test interpreted?', 'Does the ni-PGD test damage the embryo?' and 'When can embryos be transferred after a ni-PGD test?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
 Muriel Cuadros
Muriel Cuadros
Senior clinical embrylogist
Degree in Biology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She has a Master's degree in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biology from the University of A Coruña and another postgraduate degree in Assisted Reproduction. Muriel has extensive experience as an embryologist in several assisted reproduction centers. More information about Muriel Cuadros
collegiate number: 19576-M
Adapted into english by:
 Michelle Lorraine Embleton
Michelle Lorraine Embleton
B.Sc. Ph.D.
PhD in Biochemistry, University of Bristol, UK, specialising in DNA : protein intereactions. BSc honours degree in Molecular Biology, Univerisity of Bristol. Translation and editing of scientific and medical literature.
More information about Michelle Lorraine Embleton

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