Deciding If Prenatal Genetic Testing Is Right for You
Prenatal genetic tests could give you insights about your unborn child’s likelihood of having abnormalities that could cause them to be born with defects or develop health problems later in life. Many expectant parents find that the results of such tests give them peace of mind and help them plan for the future. However, you should always assess your personal situation before making a decision.
The Option to Receive It May Come Early in the Pregnancy
One advantage of genetic testing for many families expecting children is that they have the option to go through with that approach relatively early in a pregnancy. In some cases, a doctor may bring up the choice relatively early in a pregnancy, such as when a woman is about two months pregnant.
When weighing the pros and cons of such tests, you should always keep in mind that getting informed about the possibility of genetic problems early in the childbearing process could give you adequate time to research things such as the likely quality of life for a child with a particular disorder or the potential ways to treat the problem.
If you are the kind of person who likes to know as much as possible about what the future may hold, genetic testing could be a wise step to take. In any case, pregnancy has numerous unknown factors. Genetic testing is not perfect, and it cannot tell with certainty that an unborn child will have a genetic problem. However, it could still provide you with advance notice of important information.
You May Get Such Tests Before Trying to Conceive
There are numerous kinds of genetic tests available, which is why some people who want to become parents decide to go to genetic counselors to understand more about all the possibilities. Although some tests get carried out once people are already pregnant, others happen before conception.
If your age, ethnicity, or family history make you or your future children at a higher-than-normal risk of developing a particular disease, you may decide it’s smart to learn about the likelihood of hereditary issues appearing in your children.
When genetic tests reveal there is a significant chance of hereditary aspects being passed on to your kids, you and your partner may decide to evaluate other ways of having children, such as adopting them or looking into egg donation.
So, doctors often carefully study their patients’ histories while helping them to decide whether to move forward with getting genetic tests. It’s always a good idea to listen to your doctor’s recommendations, given that they’re based on years of experience. But, remember that the ultimate decision is always up to you.
Such Tests Are Readily Available
Entrepreneur Harry Stylli was an instrumental figure in bringing prenatal genetic testing to the families that want it. Through his work with companies like Sequenom, Stylli made these tests available to a broader market after realizing the need and desire for them existed.
So, the easy availability will likely factor into your decision to potentially receive genetic testing. There was a time not so long ago when those tests were not widely offered and were only feasible for people who had substantial financial resources.
Now, they are more affordable, and doctors routinely discuss them to help families make plans related to the time during and after their pregnancies. If your health care provider doesn’t bring them up, you could do the necessary research independently and find out how to get the testing if desired.
Again, every situation is personal, and the questions you ask yourself about genetic testing and if it’s right for you will vary with each scenario. However, you’ll undoubtedly find the topics above helpful to be aware of as you consider the option and how it could inform your childbearing period.