Genetic Screening and Pregnancy
It is important to note that there is a difference between genetic screening and genetic testing. Genetic screening is carried out to determine whether a person is at risk of suffering from a particular condition, while genetic testing is done to determine whether the condition is present or not. A good example is when you have genetic screening done to check for a particular gene that causes a particular condition. If the gene is present, genetic testing is done to check whether you have the condition or not.
Genetic screening is mostly done on a sample of hair, blood, skin, saliva, placenta or amniotic fluid. Here are some applications for genetic screening and testing:
Genetic Screening Before Pregnancy
Men and women who are planning to have a child should have genetic screening done to check for any abnormal genes they could pass on to their children. This is especially important for women over the age of thirty-four, older men and if one of your relatives has an inherited condition or disease.
It is better to catch a genetic condition early before you get pregnant and start experiencing problems that might lead to a complicated pregnancy.
Genetic Screening for a Woman Who Is Pregnant for a Second or Third Time
If you've experienced miscarriages before or delivered a stillborn or a child with a birth defect, you need to have genetic screening. It is important to rule out the presence of abnormal genes. The doctor can make a diagnosis and help you carry a healthy baby to term.
Genetic Screening During Pregnancy
It is recommended not to wait until you are pregnant to go for genetic screening. This is because if an abnormal gene is identified, it calls for genetic testing that may involve getting a sample of the amniotic fluid or the placenta. Your doctor will, of course, do this safely, but there can be some complications like a miscarriage.
Even though there might be some complications, they are less likely to happen, and it is important that genetic testing is done to prevent your child from getting defects or being born as a stillbirth.
Genetic Screening for Children
If your child is having problems with more than one body system, genetic screening should be performed. Most likely there could be an underlying genetic condition that requires genetic testing to make a diagnosis. After the diagnosis, treatment or condition management can be commenced for your child to lead a comfortable life.