DNA testing has become more advanced than ever before. Many people who were previously hesitant to undergo DNA tests are now coming out voluntarily because of the benefits that the tests present.
Many women and men are taking advantage of the tests to understand their genetic makeup and origin. The test results are offering many people, especially women with an opportunity to make informed decisions on a wide range of their health issues.
However, there are certain facts that you ought to know before undergoing a DNA test. They include the following:
Your family history can give clues
A proper analysis of a person’s family history can provide important clues on the best type of DNA test to be performed on you. That is why it is good to engage with your close relatives concerning their health history – both male and female.
This will help determine the health problems in your family lineage such as cancer. If you manage to gather adequate information, then the genetic counseling and testing process will be able to easily reveal the kind of risk that you and your family members are exposed to.
As you gather the information, try to note any patterns of diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and other genetic illnesses.
A DNA test can be used to plan ahead
There are several instances where DNA results can be used to plan for the future. For example, if a person wants to have a child or they are concerned about hereditary diseases such as cancer and diabetes. When it comes to pregnancy screening, a carrier screen conducted on both partners can give offer insights before conception.
Over 100 genetic diseases can be found in a carrier screen like spinal muscular atrophy, cystic fibrosis, Wilson’s disease, and Hurler syndrome. Certain diseases on carrier screen panels can be prevented with such early interventions.
Genetic counselors can assist in navigating the results
Genetic counselors are experts when it comes to making informed decision-making around DNA testing. They do understand that every individual has his or her own values, goals, and experiences that define their ability to be fully empowered.
Before taking a genetic test, a counselor will take you through the pros and cons of a genetic test and allow you to make the decision based on your conviction. If you prefer to take the test on your own, at home, then you can arrange for the session before conducting the test.
You might discover something you didn’t know
A DNA test can reveal a lot of information that you didn’t know. For example, you might find out that your teenage boy is not your biological child. You can also discover strange things that might shock you beyond imagination.
In other words, a DNA test can reveal more than what you expected. That’s why it is important to undergo proper counseling prior to the test. You should be prepared for anything once your samples have been taken to the laboratory.
There are different types of DNA testing
There are basically three types of DNA testing. They include Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Autosomal testing. Autosomal tests are the most commonly used today. They can be conducted on both men and women and at the same time trace back the family histories of both sexes.
On the other hand, the Y-DNA test can only be used on men. The DNA test can trace back to the patrilineal ancestry – mainly from then father to the great grandfather. Last but not least is the mtDNA. It is a matrilineal test that can trace the family tree of an individual’s mother right through to his or her great grandmother.