Why you and your partner might want to consider genetic testing

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Genetic testing may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually pretty common. Many soon-to-be parents get genetic testing to learn more about their genes and how they might affect their children’s health.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could look into a crystal ball and see your growing family in the future? With genetic carrier testing, you can’t quite see the future, but you can get a better picture of what it might look like.

What is genetic testing?

It’s probably been awhile since your last biology class, so let’s get you up to speed. Your genes function like a roadmap by providing instructions to tell your body how to grow, function, and repair itself. Everybody has two copies of tens of thousands of genes, and some of these genes have changes called variants.

Some variants can be harmful and cause genetic disease, but other variants do not. Carrier screening looks for conditions that are passed down in an autosomal recessive or X-linked manner. For these conditions, people with one normal copy of a gene and one copy that has a disease-causing variant are called “carriers.”

Genetic testing, specifically carrier screening, looks for these disease-causing variants in both you and your partner’s genes that together could increase your risk of having a child with genetic disease.

Why would I get it?

People often show no signs of being carriers and have no idea that they might be at risk to have a child with a genetic condition. This is actually the whole reason why this testing was developed in the first place! Some people are more likely to be carriers of a specific condition than others, due to their family history or ethnic background, but it’s a good idea for every person who is trying to conceive to consider genetic testing.

Being a carrier of a genetic disease usually doesn’t affect your health, but it does mean that you have an increased chance of having a child with that genetic disease. The same is true in reverse – being a non-carrier of a genetic disease means your chances of having a child with that specific genetic disease are significantly reduced.

If you’re using Ovia, you’re probably invested in a happy and healthy future for your growing family. It’s easier to plan for a healthy pregnancy if you’re aware of what might lie ahead.

How can genetic testing help me plan a healthier pregnancy?

Genetic carrier screening will determine whether you are a carrier or a non-carrier for each disease tested. Some tests, like the CarrierMap screen from CooperGenomics, test for over 300 genetic diseases at once and give you a lot of valuable information from just a single DNA sample.

If your results indicate that you have an increased risk of passing on a genetic disease, there are a lot of different ways for you to proceed with your family planning, including:

  • Genetically screening embryos before pregnancy
  • Using a sperm or egg donor who does not carry that genetic disease
  • Continuing with family planning and pregnancy
  • Testing the pregnancy via chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis
  • Adopting a child

No matter your results, it can be great to talk about them with a professional. CarrierMap genetic testing comes with free consultations from a certified genetic counselor. Their specialists can help you understand your results in the context of medical and family history, discuss potential implications, and guide your next steps.

Tap below to learn more about CarrierMap genetic carrier testing and counseling.

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