Short courses


Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

  • 5 hours (approx.)
  • Self paced, 3-month online access


This online course provides a basic understanding of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). It's taught by experts in the field who have developed techniques and principals of PGD.

The course covers not only the background of PGD but also explains:

  • embryo biopsy for PGD
  • genetic diagnosis for PGD

It contains information ranging from embryology to ethics, as well as the future of PGD.

With the increasing demand for answers about our genetic make-up, this course will help you understand:

  • how and why we do PGD
  • accreditation and external quality assessment

Who this course is for

The course is suitable for anyone wanting to learn more about PGD, including:

  • clinicians
  • healthcare professionals, e.g. nurses, scientists, clinical embryologists and geneticists

The resources can be used to train new staff working in an IVF or PGD clinic, or anyone wanting to learn more about this exciting field.


A background in life sciences is very beneficial but not essential.


The course is made up of the following sections:

  • Introduction to the course (Helen O'Neill)
  • Introduction to PGD (Joyce Harper)
  • Diagnosis of chromosomal imbalance by FISH and array CGH
  • PGD for single-gene disorders (Sioban SenGupta)
  • Problem solving (Sioban SenGupta and Seema Dhanjal)
  • Accreditation and external quality assessment (Seema Dhanjal)
  • Ethical considerations in PGD (Francoise Shenfield)
  • Coordination of PGD and the future of PGD (Joyce Harper)

Teaching and certificates

The course consists of seven pre-recorded lectures as well as pre-recorded laboratory procedures.

There will also be a live tutorial and a problem solving session.

You'll receive a certificate of attendance on completion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have:

  • increased your knowledge of PGD
  • become aware of methods of analysis 
  • learned about clinical methodologies

Course team

Professor Joyce Harper

Professor Joyce Harper

Joyce is Professor in Human Genetics and Embryology at UCL's Institute for Women’s Health and is the Institute for Women's Health Director of Education and Faculty Graduate Tutor. She heads the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics research group at UCL where she's researching factors affecting fertility and women’s health. She is Director of two Master's programmes: Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Science and Women’s Health.

Joyce has published over 130 scientific papers, written two textbooks and is invited to talk at many conferences around the world. She's had numerous roles in the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) including being on the executive and on various working groups including culture media, e-learning and Preimplantation Genetic Screening and was chair of the special interest group in Reproductive Genetics. She has several roles in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, including being a member of the Science and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee and chairing the Horizon Scanning Panel.

Joyce set up the Embryology and PGD Academy in 2014 with Alpesh Doshi through which she trains people in IVF and PGD techniques. She’s a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and the Higher Education Academy and an internationally renowned scientist and academic in the field of fertility and reproductive genetics.

Dr Alpesh Doshi

Dr Alpesh Doshi

Having completed his postgraduate studies in Human Reproductive Biology at Imperial College in 1997, Alpesh trained in clinical embryology at the Churchill Clinic in London. He joined the Centre of Reproductive and Genetic Health (formerly the Assisted Conception Unit at UCLH) in 1999 - a clinic that's consistently achieved one of the highest live birth rates in the UK. Alpesh is currently the Head of Embryology and also an honorary consultant at the UCLH NHS trust. He's an HFEA-licenced ICSI and Embryo Biopsy practitioner. In 2004 he became recognised by the Health professions Council as a state-registered clinical embryologist and in 2008 he was in the first group to qualify with ESHRE as a European Senior Clinical Embryologist. In 2009 Alpesh was accepted for Diplomate Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists. In addition he's an executive committee member of Alpha – Scientists in Reproductive Medicine and the Association of Clinical Embryologists (UK). He's authored several papers in peer review journals and has contributed book chapters in five international embryology publications edited by renowned scientists in the field. Alpesh has been an invited speaker at several international and national workshops and conferences and has organised embryo biopsy hands-on workshops in India, Turkey and Africa.

Dr Roy Naja

Dr Roy Naja

Roy's MSc was in Cell Biology and Population Genetics and his PhD in Human Genetics. In 2010 he joined the UCL centre for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as a PGD scientist/associate research at the Institute for Women's Health. In 2013 he became laboratory manager at UCL's Centre for PGD and in 2015 he became a state-registered scientist in genetics. Since 2016 he's been a clinical scientist and senior molecular geneticist at Reprogenetics.

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr Helen O'Neill

Helen is a postdoctoral, senior research and teaching fellow in the Embryology, IVF and Reproductive Genetics Group at the Institute for Women’s Health, UCL. She's currently working on embryo morphokinetics during development as well as the effect of vitrification on embryos. Helen did her BSc in Molecular Genetics at University College Cork in Ireland. She went on to do her MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine at University College London. She did her PhD and postdoctoral research at University College London in stem cell biology and developmental genetics in the laboratory of Professor Robin Lovell-Badge at the National Institute for Medical Research. Here she researched the genes involved in sex determination.

Dr Sioban SenGupta

Dr Sioban SenGupta

Sioban is Lecturer in Human Genetics in the Institute for Women’s Health, UCL. Her research interests involve the investigation of DNA repair in human oocytes and embryos from cleavage stage until blastocyst. Other work relates to the role of mitochondria in preimplantation development. She led the molecular team at the UCL Centre for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis between 2003 and 2015, specialising in the diagnosis of de novomutations for dominantly inherited disorders particularly cancer predisposition.

Seema Danjal

Seema Danjal

Seema did her BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University followed by an MSc Medical Genetics and Immunology from Brunel University and an MPhil in Medical Genetics from the University of Warwick. She then became a research assistant at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a clinical scientist at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham. Seema then became a research fellow/PGD scientist at UCL, where she has worked for 12 years on clinical PGD cases.

Francoise Shenfield

Francoise Shenfield

Francoise is Clinical Lecturer in Infertility and Honorary Lecturer in Medical Ethics at UCL Medical School, London.

Course information last modified: 23 Oct 2019, 12:03