Phila. couple has first baby with new genetic test

PHILADELPHIA - August 22, 2013

Marybeth Sheidts and David Levy say they are the luckiest new parents on earth - not just because 3-month-old Connor is a healthy baby, but because Connor is also the first baby in the world born after a new genetic test that could boost the odds of pregnancy from in-vitro fertilization.

The couple tried for 5 years to start a family, seeing a variety of clinics with no success.

Then they found Dr. Michael Glassner at Main Line Fertility.

During the in-vitro process, the Levy's were eligible for a study on new genetic screening.

Many embryos created by IVF look normal under the microscope, but a surprising number have genetic defects.

"In a 36-year-old, more than 65% of the embryos will be chromosomally abnormal. In a 42-year-old, 95%," Dr. Glassner said.

Those defects can prevent a pregnancy, or lead to miscarriages.

The new test scans embryos for defects faster and with more accuracy than current tests.

Only 3 of the Levys 13 embryos were viable.

They were told only one had to be implanted for a successful pregnancy.

"We decided to go with the male," said Levy.

9 months later, Connor was born to an overjoyed family.

Marybeth beams as she says, "My mom was in the room, his mom was in the room, my sister was there - everybody was all crying."

This fall Dr. Glassner will offer the new screening free to all IVF patients as part of another study.

He believes it could revolutionize IVF treatments, increasing pregnancies, reducing miscarriages, and lowering the chance for multiple births - all at far less cost.

"Traditionally, $5,000 for genetic testing. This will be 500," says Dr. Glassner.

The Levys are just delighted it helped them to, at last, become parents.

"3 months I wouldn't change. We are lucky," says a proud Levy.

Still, the new test does bring some controversy.

In theory, it could be used to screen for genetic diseases and also to predict what a baby would grow up to look like.

Dr. Glassner says that could only be done in the HIGH resolution format of the test.

He will only be using the LOW resolution to help couples have HEALTHY children.

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