Fertility Answers - Helping Build Families

Pre Pregnancy Genetic Screening

Genetic screening provides peace of mind for hopeful parents

Pre-pregnancy genetic screening can reassure hopeful parents that they won’t pass down a genetic disorder to their children. Even healthy men and women can carry a mutant version of a critical gene. When parents are carriers, their children are at increased risk of developing a life-threatening or lifelong disease, or becoming carriers themselves.

If you and your partner are both carriers for the same condition, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your children could be affected and develop symptoms. Genetic testing helps couples avoid passing known or unknown genetic diseases to their children, stopping the transmission of heritable disease across generations.

The fertility specialists at our Louisiana fertility centers strongly recommend pre-conception genetic screening for all men and women who hope to become moms and dads, and especially for those with a known family history of genetic illness. Often covered by insurance, genetic screening provides peace of mind for hopeful parents, with less worry about high-risk pregnancy or a child born with a genetic condition that may affect his or her quality of life.

Who needs pre-pregnancy genetic screening?

Genetic screening uses advanced laboratory methods to examine one or both partner’s genes, or the DNA instructions you inherited from your parents. Our Louisiana fertility center uses the Myriad Foresight™ Carrier Screen, a comprehensive genetic test that screens for more than 175 serious, clinically-actionable, and prevalent conditions into a single test using a small sample of saliva or blood.

Certain ethnic groups are at greater risk for specific genetic disorders. Our Louisiana fertility centers recommend genetic screening for any couple who may be at increased risk for carrying specific genetic diseases.

  • Caucasian/European: 1 in 28 risk for cystic fibrosis
  • African-American: 1 in 12 risk for sickle cell disease
  • Cajun and French Canadian: 1 in 30 risk of Tay-Sachs disease.
  • Ashkenazi Jewish: 1 in 16 risk for Gaucher’s disease; 1 in 31 risk for Tay-Sachs disease

If a specific genetic disorder is known to run in your or your partner’s family, or you don’t know your family history, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of genetic screening before attempting pregnancy. Even without a family history of genetic issues, any couple can have a 2% to 3% risk of having a baby with birth defects.

Our Louisiana fertility centers recommend that both partners be tested, although it may be possible to test the female partner first to see if she is positive.

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Genetic screening removes any uncertainty you may have about your genetic health, and can help your physicians make informed decisions about any treatment that may be needed if genetic issues are identified.

Should your genetic screening indicate that you or your partner have or carry a specific genetic disease, you will have access to genetic counselors who can explain what the results mean and help you determine your best options. Many couples with abnormal results choose to do IVF with preimplantation genetic testing for monogenetic disease, or PGT-M, which screens embryos for specific chromosomal abnormalities.

To learn more about genetic screening and the risk of passing along a heritable disease to your children, contact our Louisiana fertility centers to schedule a consultation.