What is a Karyotype Test and Why Do You Need to Do It Before Entering A Ukrainian Surrogacy Program

Karyotype is a test to identify and evaluate the size, shape, and number of chromosomes in a sample of body cells. Extra or missing chromosomes, or abnormal positions of chromosome pieces, can cause problems with a person's growth, development, and body functions.

A karyotype is simply a picture of a person’s chromosomes. In order to get this picture, the chromosomes are isolated, stained, and examined under the microscope.

Most often, this is done using the chromosomes in the white blood cells. This means you only need a simple blood test.

In Ukrainian surrogacy: A genetic karyotype may be done for infertility. As noted above, some chromosomal abnormalities may go undiagnosed until adulthood. A woman with Turner syndrome or a man with one of the variants of Klinefelter's may not be aware of the condition until they are coping with infertility.

A picture of the chromosomes is taken through the microscope. Then, the picture of the chromosomes is cut up and rearranged by the chromosome’s size. The chromosomes are lined up from largest to smallest. A trained cytogeneticist can look for missing or extra pieces of chromosome.

There are 22 numbered pairs of chromosomes called autosomes.  The 23rd pair of chromosomes are the sex chromosomes.  They determine an individual’s sex.  Females have two X chromosomes, and males have an X and a Y chromosome.

These stained cells are examined under a microscope for potential abnormalities. Abnormalities can include:

  • extra chromosomes
  • missing chromosomes
  • missing portions of a chromosome
  • extra portions of a chromosome
  • portions that have broken off of one chromosome and reattached to another

The lab technician can see the chromosomes’ shape, size, and number. This information is important in determining if there are any genetic abnormalities.

Examples of diseases that can be identified with Karyotypes:

  • Down syndrome (trisomy 21)
  • Edward syndrome (trisomy 18)
  • Patau syndrome (trisomy 13)
  • Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY and other variations) - Klinefelter's syndrome occurs in 1 in 500 newborn males
  • Triple X syndrome (XXX)
  • Turner syndrome (X0) or monosomy X - Roughly 10% of first trimester miscarriages are due to Turner syndrome, but this monosomy is present in only around 1 in 2,500 live female births
  • Cri-du-Chat syndrome (missing chromosome 5)
  • Williams syndrome (missing chromosome 7)

Translocations - There are many examples of translocations including translocation Down syndrome. Robertsonian translocations are fairly common, occurring in roughly 1 in 1000 people.

Mosaicism is a condition in which some cells in the body have a chromosomal abnormality while others do not. For example, mosaic Down syndrome or mosaic trisomy 9. Full trisomy 9 is not compatible with life, but mosaic trisomy 9 may result in a live birth.5

By doing a karyotype test before starting your Ukrainian surrogacy journey, fertility specialists can identify risks and best understand the success rates. It also may determine what programs in which you are able to participate. With higher risks couples will not meet the requirements for a unlimited/guaranteed program.

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