Genetic testing is the process of getting parts of your DNA sequenced in order to detect the presence or absence of the genetic sequence that causes a specific disease.
Who can get tested?
Choosing to get tested is a very personal decision and it’s important to realize that there’s no right answer here. Not everyone needs to be genetically tested or even to think about having genetic counseling or testing. Some people choose to get tested because they want to adapt their life goals and timeline.
For example, someone who has always dreamt of traveling the world may choose to get tested so that they can decide whether to travel now or later on in life. But plenty of people decide not to get tested because they don’t want to change how they live their lives.
There are certain criteria that experts are using in order to identify if the patients are going to be at higher risk for potentially having a gene. Although there are no national laws that regulate who can and cannot undergo genetic testing, following these guidelines is crucial;
- The individual should understand all the risks and benefits of genetic testing before making an independent decision. No one should be coerced into getting tested.
- The person must be 18 years old and above and minors do not get tested. While it is very rare, a doctor may recommend that an exception to this rule be made if a minor begins exhibiting symptoms of any possible diseases.
Risks and Limitations
No genetic test detects everything. It is possible that some types of changes which increase the chance of a disease will not be detected by genetic testing. In addition, family history and lifestyle play important roles in assessing your risk. You should be prepared to receive positive or negative results.