There are so many things I could say about genetic testing. When I was pregnant, I didn’t think it was necessary. I knew I would never terminate a pregnancy, so doing my prenatal paperwork, I passed over all of the questions regarding which tests I wanted for my baby. However, after Addie’s birth and her diagnosis of achondroplasia at 8 1/2 weeks, I began to wonder what else was ahead for us. Knowing that her dwarfism was a spontaneous genetic mutation, I began to research ways to test what could be in my genes without my knowledge.
As I Googled my way across the internet, I found a lot of information about specific genetic testing- in office blood draws and oral swabs done at licensed clinics. Then there are multiple broad-spectrum tests that are low in cost and can be done in the privacy of your own home. 23andMe is a company that offers their services for genetic testing for health, disease and DNA testing for ancestry. My mother is adopted, and though she knows her biological family, she does not know everything. This is where 23andMe comes in. Their $99 Spit Kit reports on over 240 health conditions and traits, with testing for more than 40 inherited conditions, including tay-sachs. As science advances (which it always is!), updates on your DNA are available, and this test helps you discover your ancestry composition. Of course there are things that this test cannot cover, and truthfully, those tests might better done with the advisement of a genetic counselor, but the LIST of included health reports is extensive, and for those curious minds- a perfect place to start.
As we look to expand our family and knowing all of the benefits to early treatment, knowing what we are at risk for is a preventative step, aimed at ensuring our future children would have the necessary care they need as early as possible. Though 23andMe does not offer a diagnosis (as your entire genome is not sequenced), knowing more and being as educated as possible seems like a healthy place to begin preparation for our future. Though there are many different opinions about genetic testing, knowing where you come from matters. Beyond possible children, as the daughter of an adoptee, I’d love to know more about my lineage and family! In the LIST of health reports are many different cancers, celiac disease, and even what your genetics say about your tooth development! 23andMe also has the most comprehensive DNA ancestry service in the world! The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is U.S. federal legislation that protects Americans from discrimination (in health insurance and employment decisions) on the basis of genetic information- and all of your information is kept secure through multiple levels of encryption. In just 6-8 weeks your results will be ready for you to view.
Check out 23andMe and find out about you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.