Doctor recommends discarding embryo from cancer-prone model

Barbara Evans cries when talking about the expectation of obtaining viable embryos for treatment – REPRODUCTION / INSTAGRAM

Embryonic biopsy, a procedure disclosed by model Bárbara Evans, 30, on social networks, is done to detect genetic changes in embryos before they are transferred to the uterus during in vitro fertilization treatment, as explained by gynecologist and obstetrician Geraldo Caldeira, member of the SBRH (Brazilian Society for Human Reproduction). According to him, the disposal of embryos with a predisposition to diseases is recommended, as they have a great chance that they will develop during their lifetime.

“When a genetic study is carried out to detect a specific disease and it is identified, these embryos are not used, as they have a great chance of developing the researched disease”, explains Caldeira.

The model is undergoing an in vitro fertilization process to generate her first child with businessman Gustavo Theodoro. According to her, seven embryos underwent embryonic biopsy and four of them were discarded for having shown an indication of predisposition to melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

The gynecologist explains that, due to the fact that Barbara’s mother, former model Monique Evans, 65, had the disease, which has a high possibility of spreading to other organs, according to the Inca (National Cancer Institute), the realization of the study was needed to look for specific genes for melanoma. This type of tumor represents only 3% of skin cancer cases in Brazil.

“In Barbara’s case, she has a family history. His mother already had melanoma and that is why she did the genetic study, to see syndromes and specifically the presence of this gene”, says Caldeira.

According to the gynecologist, if a genetic alteration, such as Down Syndrome, is detected in the biopsy, the chance that it will develop is 100%; in cases of cancer, it is not possible to specify the chance of developing the disease throughout life, but the doctor guarantees that the possibility is high.

The biopsy, according to Caldeira, is performed by removing 5 cells from the part that will form the placenta from the embryo. After this process, the cells are analyzed in order to detect the presence of genetic syndromes or predisposition to some types of cancer. The study is ready in around 10 days. Caldeira explains that the process is not performed in all in vitro fertilization treatments for the additional cost.

“This study is not done around the world yet because of its price. An in vitro fertilization without biopsy costs an average of R$22,000 and, with the study, including the freezing of the embryo and genetic research, it can reach R$30,000,” says Caldeira.