CUHK develops genome test to tackle miscarriage - RTHK
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CUHK develops genome test to tackle miscarriage

2020-08-04 HKT 16:56
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  • Dr Jacqueline Chung (right) said a new genome sequencing test called “ChromoSeq” can identify potential genetic abnormalities in couples who suffer from recurrent miscarriages. Photo courtesy: CUHK
    Dr Jacqueline Chung (right) said a new genome sequencing test called “ChromoSeq” can identify potential genetic abnormalities in couples who suffer from recurrent miscarriages. Photo courtesy: CUHK
Jacqueline Chung speaks to RTHK's Priscilla Ng
Miscarriages are often extremely painful and traumatic for couples who want a child, and it is especially so for those who’ve suffered from repeated or recurrent miscarriages.

Recurrent miscarriages refer to two or more consecutive pregnancy losses, and affect around 1 to 2 percent of couples worldwide.

In some cases, the losses have to do with chromosome and genetic abnormalities of the embryo.

Now, experts from the Chinese University have come up with a potential solution to this problem. They’ve developed a new genome sequencing test called “ChromoSeq” to identify potential genetic abnormalities in couples who suffer from recurrent miscarriages.

Jacqueline Chung, a member of the research team, said by subsequently selecting genetically-normal embryos for implantation, the risk of miscarriages can be substantially reduced.

“We will carry out the whole genome sequencing for the DNAs to identify any abnormalities of the chromosomes in each of them. Once a positive result is reported, then we can benefit from in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). And with subsequent pre-implantation genetic testing, this technique mainly helps to select the genetically-normal embryos for implantation. So it can reduce the subsequent risk of miscarriage in these couples,” Chung said.

The associate professor of CUHK’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology added that the test can also reduce the chance of genetic defects in future babies.

She said it currently costs several thousand Hong Kong dollars for each test, adding that she believes the cost can be further reduced in the near future with technological advancement.