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Genetics

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What to Think About

Before making a decision about testing, you should clearly understand how the results of the test may affect your life. Consider how the test results may influence your decisions. If testing will not change any of your decisions, you may feel the test is not worth doing.

  • Fetal genetic testing may detect a serious disease or disorder, such as Down syndrome, that will greatly impact your child's life and the lives of caregivers. A pregnant woman who is considering genetic testing may want to consider her ethical, social, and religious beliefs to help her determine the actions she would take if test results show a genetic disease.
  • A genetic test result is sensitive information. Your confidentiality should be maintained, and the release of information should be limited to those who are authorized to receive it.
  • Genetic testing can sometimes reveal unintended information, such as the identity of a child's father (paternity).
  • The discovery of a genetic disease may affect your future ability to get work or some types of private insurance coverage. The discovery of a genetic disease that is not causing symptoms now (such as breast cancer or Huntington's disease) should not affect your future ability to gain employment or health insurance coverage. A law in the United States, called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), protects people who have DNA differences that may affect their health. This law does not cover life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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