Screening Prior To Pregnancy

Carrier screening is a simple test to determine if a patient has a gene for a specific disease or condition. The person with the gene is called a carrier. Testing before or during pregnancy may determine if the child can inherit a particular order. Genetic testing before pregnancy does not happen as often as doctors hope. However, there are some great benefits during the pregnancy process.

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Understanding the carrier screening process

Carrier screening is a simple test where a doctor or technician will take a blood or saliva sample for testing. The sample goes to a lab where lab technicians will screen for hundreds of potential genetic disorders. If one parent is a genetic carrier, the other parent is tested for recessive diseases. If both parents have a particular gene, there is a 50% chance the child can inherit the gene. Here are 3 reasons to consider this extra step during pregnancy.

1. There is a known genetic issue with the future parents

Some parents are aware of an existing genetic disorder. The parents may have inherited the disease, or there is a history of specific conditions in the family. Carrier screening removes the anxiety from the process. Parents can know with some certainty if the child can inherit a disorder. In some cases, there is a high risk for specific genetic orders. For instance, eastern and central-eastern European descent can develop Tay-Sachs disease.

2. There have been previous failed pregnancies

In some cases, some women experience multiple miscarriages. These miscarriages are often unexplained. Genetic screening may be able to pinpoint the root cause. Sometimes, the embryo contains an abnormal number of chromosomes. This abnormality can happen from either sperm or the egg. Genetic screening can determine the source of the issue and help with future family planning.

3. Carrier screening can help decide on alternate pregnancy options

If genetic screening reveals a specific disorder, the potential family can take other steps with pregnancy. For instance, the couple can decide on donor eggs or donor sperm. The donor material can remove the chances of the child having a genetic disorder. Other options include IVF with ICSI or adoption. With the correct family planning and counseling, carrier screening makes pregnancy easier.

One test can make a difference

Carrier screening is a great way to identify specific or general disorders. But the carrier screening process is up to the patient. That one test allows hopeful parents to make better decisions and have a smoother pregnancy or family planning process. Bring up the topic of genetic testing with an OB/GYN today.

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