You don’t have to already be pregnant to start taking care of your baby’s health. There have been so many recent advances in genetic testing that our fertility doctors at Dallas Fort Worth Fertility Associates recommend that all couples hoping for future pregnancies seriously consider preconception testing.

What is preconception testing?

9347596_sHow can you test the genes of a baby that doesn’t exist yet? The testing done before pregnancy is for the parents of the future baby, not the baby itself. By examining each parent’s unique genetic profile through blood or saliva tests, genetic experts are able to look at which health conditions and issues might be of particular concern to the couple’s future child. This information allows the couple and their fertility doctor to make the best choices for a healthy pregnancy.

If neither parent has health problems, then why is preconception genetic testing necessary?

Healthy parents equal a healthy baby, right? Well, not always. Many people are unknowing carriers for genetic diseases. That means that while neither parent has any symptoms, one or both could pass on the genetic disease to their child. The risk increases when both parents are carriers for the same disease. Preconception testing allows fertility doctors to determine risk factors for their baby.

What types of preconception genetic testing are available?

At Dallas Fort Worth Fertility Associates, we use two different types of preconception testing. One test, called The Counsyl Test, looks for a wide range of single gene defects. The current test can detect up to 109 defects.

Another test, offered by Good Start Genetics, is recommended for couples with a family history of genetic disease. This higher-level test allows geneticists to look in depth at several types of minimal alterations, or mutations, of the same gene. This method – called gene sequencing testing – is particularly useful when looking for genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis. If both partners have one of these genetic mutations for cystic fibrosis – even if it’s a different type of mutation – researchers now know that the risk for their child will increase, and intervention is recommended.

If one of the preconception genetic tests finds that I’m a carrier, will I still be able to have a child?

Yes! Finding out that one or both parents have a genetic health concern doesn’t mean a pregnancy isn’t recommended. It just means that you and your fertility doctor at Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates will have information to select the right treatments and strategy for your pregnancy.

Contact us at Dallas – Fort Worth Fertility Associates to schedule a consultation for genetic testing – the more information, the better!

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