Genetic Carrier Screening Allows Couples to Make Informed Reproductive Decisions

May 24, 2016 @ 10:00 AM – by CARE Fertility

Vials being tested in a laboratoryAt the Center for Assisted Reproduction, or CARE Fertility, our doctors are here to assist patients through all stages of conception. We offer a comprehensive range of fertility testing to diagnose potential roadblocks on the journey to pregnancy, as well as diagnostic testing to provide information that will allow our patients to make knowledgeable decisions regarding reproduction. An important first step for any couple who is planning to conceive is genetic carrier screening. Genetic carrier screening allows our Dallas, TX patients to get a comprehensive look at their genetic makeup so that they have a full understanding of any genetic conditions or diseases that may be passed down to their children. This simple blood test provides patients with vital information that allows them to plan their reproductive journey accordingly.

Who Needs Genetic Carrier Screening?

It would seem obvious that anyone with a family history of disease or other genetic conditions should undergo genetic carrier screening. Similarly, there are certain ethnicities that are at an increased risk of specific genetic conditions, making those individuals ideal candidates for genetic carrier screening as well. However, the truth is that anyone can be a carrier for a genetic condition. Even if there is no family history of a disease, there is always the potential that an individual may unknowingly be a genetic carrier. Most genetic carriers display no symptoms. It is only when two genetic carriers reproduce that the disease may manifest. For this reason it is actually recommended that all women who are within the reproductive age range undergo genetic carrier screening. All that is required to complete this screening is a simple blood test, and the information that it provides may prove invaluable in making appropriate reproductive decisions.

Results and Follow-up

Shortly following genetic carrier screening, patients will receive their test results. A negative result indicates that the woman is not a carrier for any of the tested genetic conditions. In the case of a negative test result, no additional follow-up is needed. It is important to realize, however, that this is not a guarantee that any future children will be free of genetic diseases. It is impossible to test for all conditions, so there remains a residual risk that the child may suffer from a disease or be a carrier.

If a patient receives a positive test result, it means that there is a mutation present. While this can be disappointing news, it is not reason to panic. The next step of follow-up care after a positive test result is to have your partner undergo genetic carrier screening. These test results will provide patients and our doctors with information regarding potential areas of concern so appropriate reproductive decisions can be made. There are many options available to those who are found to be genetic carriers, and our doctors are happy to discuss these options in further detail and create a reproductive plan that will work best for each of our patient’s needs and desires.

Schedule an Appointment

While the path to parenthood can be an exciting one, it is often filled with stress and concern as well. Working with a fertility specialist such as those at the Center for Assisted Reproduction can provide the comfort, knowledge, and guidance that makes the transition to parenthood smooth and successful. If you have questions about fertility testing, or would like to learn more about diagnostic testing, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced doctors at your earliest convenience.

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