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The improvement of the best practice guidelines for preimplantation genetic diagnosis of cystic fibrosis: toward an international consensus

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common indications for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for single gene disorders, giving couples the opportunity to conceive unaffected children without having to consider termination of pregnancy. However, there are no available standardized protocols, so that each center has to develop its own diagnostic strategies and procedures. Furthermore, reproductive decisions are complicated by the diversity of disease-causing variants in the CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) gene and the complexity of correlations between genotypes and associated phenotypes, so that attitudes and practices toward the risks for future offspring can vary greatly between countries. On behalf of the EuroGentest Network, eighteen experts in PGD and/or molecular diagnosis of CF from seven countries attended a workshop held in Montpellier, France, on 14 December 2011. Building on the best practice guidelines for amplification-based PGD established by ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology), the goal of this meeting was to formulate specific guidelines for CF-PGD in order to contribute to a better harmonization of practices across Europe. Different topics were covered including variant nomenclature, inclusion criteria, genetic counseling, PGD strategy and reporting of results. The recommendations are summarized here, and updated information on the clinical significance of CFTR variants and associated phenotypes is presented.