Should You Receive Carrier Screening for Genetic Disorders?


If you and your partner are trying to have a baby, then the thought of your future child having a genetic abnormality may have crossed your mind. Some chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, are random. However, others stem from genetic predispositions in the child’s lineage.


In most cases, both parents need to pass on affected genes for the child to have a genetic abnormality. Thanks to genetic testing, parents no longer have to be in the dark about their children’s potential genetic makeups. Today, genetic testing before or during pregnancy can help detect a higher risk for genetic disorders early on.



What Is Carrier Screening?

Most genetic disorders require two genes for the person to experience symptoms of the disorder. A carrier is someone who has one gene for a disorder. Carriers may not experience any symptoms or have light symptoms. Many do not know they are carriers. The type of genetic testing that checks for genetic abnormalities in parents is called carrier screening.


Carrier screening uses tests to determine whether one or both parents are carriers. These tests are important, because if both parents are carriers of a recessive gene for a disorder, this means there is a chance of their child having the disorder. If both parents are carriers, the child will have a 25% chance of having the genetic disorder. If only one parent is a carrier, there is a 50% chance that the child will also become a carrier.


Labs conduct carrier screening through the use of saliva, blood, or tissues from the inside of the mouth. Physicians will generally recommend testing of the person most likely to have a genetic abnormality, such as the spouse with a family history. If that person tests negative, there will be no need to check the second spouse. Some people undergo carrier screening before getting pregnant, while others do it during pregnancy.


Is Carrier Screening Right for You?

Anyone can receive genetic testing, whether the person is already expecting or in the first stages of family planning. Carrier screening for genetic disorders can help prospective parents understand the risks of passing on genetic mutations to their future children. This could help people plan their families depending on the results of the tests.


For example, two people with a high risk of passing on a mutation may decide to adopt instead. If they still wish to bear children, the results of the carrier screening can at least help them prepare for possibilities. Carrier screening is just one of many different types of genetic tests. Discuss with your healthcare provider which tests might be right for your growing family.


If you or your partner have a family history of a specific condition, such as cystic fibrosis or fragile X syndrome, carrier screening can be a smart option. Taking these genetic tests prior to pregnancy can help you determine the likelihood of passing a gene abnormality onto your child, should you get pregnant. Having this data will allow you and your partner to make informed decisions about family planning. Your future will still be entirely up to you, but you’ll be able to welcome it with more confidence and knowledge.




About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

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