Beyond the biopsy: Predictors of decision regret and anxiety following preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy

Kara N. Goldman*, Jennifer Blakemore, Yael Kramer, David H. McCulloh, Angela Lawson, Jamie A. Grifo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


STUDY QUESTION: What factors are associated with decision regret and anxiety following preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A)? SUMMARY ANSWER: The majority of patients viewed PGT-A favourably regardless of their outcome; although patients with negative outcomes expressed greater decision regret and anxiety. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: PGT-A is increasingly utilized in in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles to aid in embryo selection. Despite the increasing use of PGT-A technology, little is known about patients' experiences and the possible unintended consequences of decision regret and anxiety related to PGT-A outcome. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: Anonymous surveys were distributed to 395 patients who underwent their first cycle of autologous PGT-A between January 2014 and March 2015. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: There were 69 respondents who underwent PGT-A at a university-affiliated fertility centre, completed the survey and met inclusion criteria. Respondents completed three validated questionnaires including the Brehaut Decision Regret (DR) Scale, short-form State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-6) and a health literacy scale. The surveys also assessed demographics, fertility history, IVF and frozen embryo transfer cycle data. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The majority of respondents were Caucasian, >35 years of age and educated beyond an undergraduate degree. The majority utilized PGT-A on their first IVF cycle, most commonly to 'maximize the efficiency of IVF' or reduce per-transfer miscarriage risk. The overall median DR score was low, but 39% of respondents expressed some degree of regret. Multiple regression confirmed a relationship between embryo ploidy and decision regret, with a lower number of euploid embryos associated with a greater degree of regret. Patients who conceived following euploid transfer reported less regret than those who miscarried or failed to conceive (P < 0.005). Decision regret was inversely associated with number of living children but not associated with age, education, race, insurance coverage, religion, marital status or indication for IVF/PGT-A. Anxiety was greater following a negative pregnancy test or miscarriage compared to successful conception (P < 0.0001). Anxiety was negatively associated with age, time since oocyte retrieval and number of living children, and a relationship was observed between anxiety and religious affiliation. Overall, decision regret was low, and 94% of all respondents reported satisfaction with their decision to pursue PGT-A; however, patients with a negative outcome were more likely to express decision regret and anxiety. LIMITATIONS, REASON FOR CAUTION: This survey was performed at a single centre with a relatively homogenous population, and the findings may not be generalizable. Reasons for caution include the possibility of response bias and unmeasured differences among those who did and did not respond to the survey, as well as the possibility of recall bias given the retrospective nature of the survey. Few studies have examined patient perceptions of PGT-A, and our findings should be interpreted with caution. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Overall decision regret was low following PGT-A, and the vast majority deemed the information gained valuable for reproductive planning regardless of outcome. However, more than one-third of the respondents expressed some degree of regret. Respondents with no euploid embryos were more likely to express regret, and those with a negative outcome following euploid embryo transfer expressed both higher regret and anxiety. These data identify unanticipated consequences of PGT-A and suggest opportunities for additional counselling and support surrounding IVF with PGT-A. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): No external funding was obtained for this study. D.H.M. reports personal fees, honorarium, and travel expenses from Ferring Pharmaceuticals, personal fees and travel expenses from Granata Bio, and personal fees from Biogenetics Corporation, The Sperm and Embryo Bank of New York, and ReproART: Georgian American Center for Reproductive Medicine. All conflicts are outside the submitted work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1260-1269
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2019


  • 24-chromosome aneuploidy screening
  • anxiety
  • decision regret
  • in vitro fertilization
  • pre-implantation genetic testing with aneuploidy screening (PGT-A)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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