What To Think About
The information obtained from a genetic test can have a profound impact on your life. Genetic counselors are trained to help you understand your risk for having a child with an inherited (genetic) disease, such as Reference sickle cell disease Opens New Window, Reference cystic fibrosis Opens New Window, or Reference hemophilia Opens New Window. A Reference genetic counselor Opens New Window can help you make well-informed decisions. Ask to have Reference genetic counseling Opens New Window before making a decision about genetic testing.
- 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.
- 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.
- A fetal genetic test may detect a serious disease or disorder (such as Reference Down syndrome Opens New Window) 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 are positive.
- A karyotype can be used to examine the size, shape, and number of chromosomes. Extra, missing, or abnormal positions of chromosome pieces can cause problems with a person's growth, development, and body functions. For more information, see the topic Reference Karyotype Test.
- A genetic test can sometimes reveal unintended information, such as the identity of a child's father (paternity).
- A breast cancer (BRCA) gene test is done to evaluate your risk of developing breast cancer. For more information, see the topic Reference Breast Cancer (BRCA) Gene Test.
- A type of genetic test (DNA fingerprinting) can be used to determine paternity, help solve crimes, and identify a body. DNA fingerprinting is more accurate than dental records, blood type, or traditional fingerprints. For more information, see the topic Reference DNA Fingerprinting.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 29, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics