Pregnancy and Genetic Screening

Making the decision to become a parent is one of life’s most exciting moments. This decision can also create its fair share of anxiety and stress, especially if you’re concerned about the possibility of passing along genetic disorders. Advances in modern medical technology today make it possible to identify many genetic abnormalities, allowing expecting parents and those planning to conceive to make informed family planning decisions.

Genetic Screening Before Conception

Parents who are ready to start planning for pregnancy may want to undergo basic genetic testing before conception. Through a simple blood test, your obstetrician or gynecologist can determine if you or your partner may be a carrier for some genetic diseases.

Many genetic disorders are recessive, which means both parents will need to possess the markers for a particular condition in order for it to be passed along to their offspring. If your test results indicate you may be a carrier for a particular disorder, the next step is to test the other parent for presence of the same genetic material. Should both you and your partner test positive for these markers, you may still have a very low chance of conceiving a child who has the disorder in question.

Genetic Screening in Early Pregnancy

While testing before conception can help you to learn more about your potential for passing along a genetic abnormality to unborn children, it’s not always feasible for all parents. Still, the fact that so many pregnancies are unplanned can make pre-conception testing impossible.

Family history and the ethnicity of your family will help your obstetrician or gynecologist determine how important genetic screening will be in your particular case. If you’re concerned about the possibility of passing along genetic abnormalities, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss the necessity of genetic screening.

Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.

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