How Genetic Screening Prior to Pregnancy Will Benefit You

You’re ready to get pregnant — congratulations! You’ve prepared your body with good nutrition, exercise, and quitting substances to create the perfect home for your baby to grow and develop for the next nine months.

Some conditions that your baby may develop aren’t within your control, however, but result from unlucky genetics. Modern science makes it possible for you and your partner to know if you’re carriers for diseases that could affect your child. With genetic screening prior to pregnancy, you and your partner get peace of mind about becoming a parent. A simple blood test tells Dr. Farly Sejour if you’re a carrier of certain genetic diseases.

What does genetic screening show?

Genetic testing is a blood test given to prospective parents to look for certain disease genes that they may pass on to a child. Genetic disorders tend to be recessive, which means both Mom and Dad need to pass along the gene for a baby to develop the condition.

If you have a gene for a disorder but your partner doesn’t, your baby will not end up with the condition. But, if both of you have a gene for a particular disorder, there’s a 25% likelihood that your baby will have the disease.

Standard diseases to screen for include Fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and blood disorders such as sickle cell disease. Science is such that now a genetic test can look for 400 other disorders, many of which are quite rare.

Who are candidates for testing?

Any couple intending to get pregnant benefits from genetic testing prior to pregnancy. Consider it if you have a higher risk of passing on certain diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, or if you have someone in your family, especially a sibling or parent, who has a genetic disorder.

People of certain ethnic descent are also more likely to be carriers of certain diseases. These include people whose heritage is Ashkenazi Jewish, African-American, or Mediterranean and Southeast Asian.

Even if you don’t face a higher risk, genetic screening before pregnancy gives you reassurance that your baby won’t have a genetic disease. In some cases, genetic disorders are not linked to your family history or ethnicity, and testing helps identify them.

And, if you and your partner are carriers, you can make an informed decision before you conceive about how to proceed.

What if it’s wrong?

While genetic testing is quite accurate in giving you insight into your chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby, it’s not absolute. In very rare cases, a genetic test misses some of the mutations in genes that cause a condition. But the benefits of genetic testing far outweigh the slight chance that the test may be inaccurate.

We want to help families prepare for pregnancy in every way possible. Call Solace Women’s Care to schedule your genetic screening for you and your partner.

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