Genetic testing during pregnancy can give parents all sorts of different information. From potential medical conditions to gender – genetic testing can provide parents with an array of different facts that they would not have known otherwise. This can allow parents to do family planning well before a baby arrives.
When both parents undergo genetic testing, the results can show many single-gene or multi-gene cluster diseases that indicate whether parents are silent carriers for genetic problems that a baby might inherit. These tests will also show what the chances are that their children will be born with those diseases. This can be a huge help in allowing parents to plan for their children’s futures.
In the case of cystic fibrosis for example, testing may show that a child will inherit the mutation for cystic fibrosis, but won’t necessarily tell whether or not the child will develop the respiratory problems that can accompany that. Either way, parents can use this information to start developing plans before they have children.
Knowing what kind of medical support your child might need allows parents to plan for their insurance needs and find specialists who can help if complications develop. This information also allows parents to quickly and correctly identify the symptoms of disease when they show up. Having a plan like this from the get-go means that children can have the best possible care from the start. While it can’t always be determined how ill a child will get, whether or not they can get medical care for a genetic illness doesn’t need to be a mystery.
Knowledge about genetic diseases during pregnancy can also allow parents the time they might need in order to be able to find places where trials for gene therapies for a particular disease are located. Many treatments for sickle cell disease, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and certain cancers are only available in certain areas. Trials might not be taking place near where parents live but if a future parent knows that they will need care, they can plan to travel to where those treatments are available ahead of time.
Genetic testing is not available for every disease, but the number of diseases that it is available for are continuing to increase. If you or a relative has a history of a genetic disease, genetic testing can provide you with valuable information both before and after you have conceived. Learn more about different testing options for prospective parents here.