Sensorineural hearing impairment is a common sensory deficit in children and more than 50% of these cases are caused by genetic etiologies, that is, hereditary hearing impairment (HHI). Recent advances in genomic medicine have revolutionized the diagnostics of, and counseling for, HHI, including preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), thus providing parents-to-be with better reproductive choices. Over the past decade, we have performed PGD using the amplification refractory mutation system quantitative polymerase chain reaction (ARMS-qPCR) technique in 11 couples with a history of HHI, namely eight with GJB2 variants, one with OTOF variants, one with SLC26A4 variants, and one with an MITF variant. We demonstrated that PGD can be successfully applied to HHI of different inheritance modes, namely autosomal dominant or recessive, and phenotypes, namely syndromic or non-syndromic HHI. However, certain ethical concerns warrant scrutiny before PGD can be widely applied to at-risk couples with a history of HHI.
Keywords: GJB2; OTOF; SLC26A4; deafness-associated genes; hereditary hearing impairment; preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).