Everyone could benefit from carrier DNA testing. Whether you are considering having a baby or have a close relative with a genetic disease such as Hemophilia, carrier testing can answer questions for you.
Each and every one of us possess two copies of the genetic material that make up our DNA. One from your mother and the other from your father. Gene mutations are changes to your DNA, and they can cause disease or other birth defects. Often these gene mutations are recessive in nature. This means that people can be carriers, but unless both parents have the gene and pass it on, it will not manifest itself in any visible way.
Carrier DNA testing is designed to help discover if either parent are possible gene mutation carriers. This is the reason carrier DNA testing is so important for those considering conceiving. As a potential parent, knowing if you, or your partner, is a carrier for a disease is information that you need to have. Before you start worrying too much though, being a carrier in itself isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that there is necessarily anything wrong with you. And even if both parents test positive as carriers, there still only remains a one in four chance that the child will develop the disorder.
Testing like this is most important for those whose family has a history of genetic disorders, and for people of certain ethnic groups that have a greater risk of certain genetic disorders. However, testing is often offered by your health care provider if you tell them you are attempting to conceive. Because sometimes people may not even be aware that they are carriers. By testing both parents, doctors can safely tell if a couple is at risk for having children with a genetic condition. Below are some of the genetic disorders that most commonly require carrier testing:
The process of getting tested usually occurs in one of two ways. Either you will have to get blood drawn and send in a sample, which is the more common approach. Alternatively, you might have your cheek swabbed and then have it analyzed. Results usually take anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months to get back to you. However, expectant mothers can often have the analyzing process sped up a bit.
If you feel you may be a carrier, know your family has a history of illness, or simply want to be safe, carrier DNA testing is a definite step you should take to be the most informed that you possibly can.