Benefits of the Carrier Screening Test
We all have two copies of all the genes that we inherit from our parents. Genes are not only responsible for traits like eye color and other physical characteristics, but also for serious disorders. A “carrier” is a normal healthy individual whose one copy is defective and the other is normal. If both husband and wife are carriers of the same defective gene, there is a greater risk of having a child with a genetic disorder.
Fortunately, you can now determine the risk of your baby developing a genetic disorder like congenital adrenal hyperplasia or cystic fibrosis before you get pregnant with a carrier screening test.
If you are planning a baby, make sure you talk to your doctor prior to conception to discuss your screening options. This way, if the test does determine that you or your partner are a carrier of a genetic mutation, you can seek guidance from a genetic counselor who can outline your options and help you decide the next step.
In addition to informing you of your risk, a carrier screening test presents a wide range of benefits to couples wanting to start a family.
A carrier screening test is completed with just a small sample of blood, taken from both potential parents. This noninvasive testing option does not pose any risk to the mother and does notimpact her chance of conception.
Eliminate Need for Further Testing
One of the biggest benefits of a carrier screening test is that it can eliminate the need for further testing which can be invasive and present severe risk to both the baby and mother. Additionally the results of your carrier screening test will help your doctor determine if you will need additional prenatal tests once you conceive.
Negative results mean you will not need to be subjected to an amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling (CVS) to determine the risk of your baby being born with a genetic disease. These more extreme tests come with a risk of miscarriage and should only be taken if deemed absolutely necessary.
More Time to Make Decisions & Take Action
Discovering your risk of passing a genetic condition to your baby prior to conception will give you more time to make the right decision for your family and act on it. Couples who wait until after conception to determine their risk, reduce their opportunities for intervention.
If you do find out that both you and your partner are a carrier prior to pregnancy, you still have a few options moving forward. Your doctor and a genetic counselor will provide you with the available options.
Time is of essence when it comes to starting your family. Most couples will receive their results from their carrier screening test in four to six weeks — giving them more time moving forward.
Ideally, a carrier screening test is done before a couple tries to get pregnant to give them time to discuss and get assured about their child’s genetic health. Talk to your doctor to determine if it is the right test for you! You can also call our toll free number and fix an appointment with our genetic counselor to know more about the test.