Should I have genetic testing?
You may choose to
have genetic testing if you are concerned that you have an increased risk for
having or getting a disease that has a genetic cause. The information you
obtain from the tests may help you make decisions about your life. For example:
- If tests show that you have an increased
risk for passing on a disease to your child, you may choose to have more
genetic testing while you are pregnant (prenatal testing). Or you may decide to
adopt a child.
- If tests show that you have an increased risk
for developing a disease such as
breast cancer, you may make decisions that help lower
your risk of breast cancer.
- You may feel reassured if the tests
You may decide to have a genetic test during pregnancy to
find out whether your
fetus has a disorder, such as
Down syndrome. Information obtained from the test can
help you decide how to manage your pregnancy.
Genetic testing can
be used to find out the identity of a child's father (paternity). It can also
be used in crime scene investigation.
What are the main types of genetic testing?
are six main types of genetic testing:
- Carrier identification determines whether people who have a family history of a
specific disease or who are in a group that has an increased chance for that
disease are likely to pass on that disease to their children. Information
obtained from this type of testing can help guide a couple as they make
decisions about pregnancy.
- Prenatal testing determines whether a
fetus has a disorder, such as Down syndrome.
Information gained from this type of testing can help guide decisions about how
to manage a pregnancy, including the decision about whether to end the
- Newborn screening checks for various metabolic diseases,
phenylketonuria (PKU). Information obtained from
newborn screening can help guide medical treatment to ensure the best possible
outcome for the baby.
- Late-onset disease testing determines whether
you carry a genetic change that increases your risk for developing a disease,
such as breast cancer or
Huntington's disease, later in life. This might be of
interest if you have a relative who has the disease. Information from
this type of testing can help you make decisions about preventing or managing
- Genetic identification (DNA fingerprinting) can be
used to determine paternity, help solve crimes, and identify a body.
- Compatibility testing looks at genetic markers to see if an organ for transplant is suitable for a person who needs it.