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The Consequences of Genetic Testing

            Perhaps your family has a medical history of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, or Huntington's disease. Or perhaps your family has no history of any kind of genetic diseases whatsoever. In either situations, there is no guarantee that because Alzheimer's may run in your family, that you will automatically inherit the disease. There is also no guarantee that just because there is no known history for a genetic disease in the family, that you may not be a carrier for a certain type of genetic disease. And what about the percentage of affecting your future children or existing children? However, with the technology and medical advances that are available today, genetic screening and testing are available for those who may want to know if they are affected. But whether the results may be positive or negative, these same results can affect more than just the individual. It can change not only the individual's life but also the lives of their families, for better or worse. So how does one make the decision to get genetically tested?.
             There are pros and cons when it comes to genetic screening. The benefits of genetic testing are that the results can be utilized for many different purposes. Genetic testing can help a pregnant couple or a couple who is planning on having children predetermine their carrier status. With these results, the parents can prepare for their child accordingly and adjust to their future child's needs. Also with the information from a genetic screening and with the aid of doctors and genetic counselors, couples can also decide if they would want to risk having a child that is vulnerable to a certain genetic disorder or if adoption could be an alternative. Some genetic disorders such as phenylketonuria (PKU) that fall under newborn screening can detect the disease early enough to allow the affected individual to carry on a normal life with specific treatments, special diets, or medication.

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