Genetic Screening Before Pregnancy
The amount of testing available before and during pregnancy can be confusing and overwhelming. Family history is still the best first step, but some testing may make sense even with no known health problems in the family. Use our Family Screens to learn your personalized risk and what screening is right for you.
Carrier Testing for Childhood Conditions
Sometimes mom and dad are healthy but could pass a non-working gene or genes to their child to cause a genetic disease. The parents are called carriers because they are healthy, but have one non-working copy of the gene. Parents won’t know they are carriers without special genetic testing.
Choices for testing
There are many different versions of carrier tests. Some labs offer tests that screen for just those conditions recommended by medical societies like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Others offer carrier tests that screen for >250 diseases. It is also possible to order tests for just one condition if the parents know about an inherited disease in the family.
Not all conditions
The tests don’t include all conditions and can’t find all the DNA causes for the diseases on the test. Therefore, knowing the health of your family can still be important.
Some of the conditions included on carrier testing are extremely rare. Although as many as 1 in 4 to 1 in 2 (25-50%) people who have carrier testing will be a carrier for at least one inherited disease, the chances that his or her partner is a carrier for the same condition is low.
Choices in pregnancy
There are a growing number of treatments for inherited diseases. However, many genetic diseases still cannot be treated. Parents can choose, however, to test their pregnancies, or to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) to test embryos.
Several laboratories offer carrier testing for a cash price of $250 for the first person's carrier testing and $100 for the partner's carrier testing. Many health plans do not cover these tests until a woman is already pregnant, but there are fewer choices at that point. Check your own policy for what your health plan offers.
Testing for pregnancy
Typical prenatal genetic screening doesn't include diseases that affect adults. However, many people don't realize that even people with normal fertility can use IVF for genetic testing on embryos. These can detect adult-onset diseases, too. Others sometimes test a pregnancy.*
Limits of testing
There are many different tests available. Mainstream Genomics' Family Screens can help you decide if a test is for you, and if so, which one. Regardless, these tests cannot find all inherited conditions.
Science Is changing
Although your DNA will not change, what we know about DNA may. Therefore, people who have DNA testing should check back, especially if something new happens in the family.
Laws protect your right to health insurance and employment, but not long-term care, life, or disability insurance. You can read more here.
Many insurance plans will cover genetic testing if there is a health problem in the person or family. However, some labs also offer tests for healthy adults for a cash pay rate as low as $250.
Some genetic diseases show up for the first time in adults. Examples are certain inherited cancers, like those caused by the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, or certain inherited heart conditions that can cause severe symptoms or even death at very young ages.