Is Genetic Testing Available on the NHS During Pregnancy?

Genetic screening technologies allow couples who have a family history of a particular heritable disease the chance to put their mind at ease and find out whether or not they have, or can pass on a particular illness.

The NHS genetics service

The NHS now operates 27 genetic testing centres across the UK. These are regionally operated, and include both the lab services needed for testing and the clinical aspect needed for treatment and management. Each of these centres employs clinical geneticists, professionals trained in genetics and specialists on genetic illnesses and testing.

The genetic aspect of disease is growing more prominent every day, and as such the NHS genetics service aims to grow and expand to meet the growing demand for a cutting edge genetics service.

How do I make use of the NHS genetics service?

If you are testing for a genetic illness because you are trying to conceive and want to make use of the NHS’ services, the first thing you will have to do is contact your GP who will then refer you to your region’s genetics centre. Referrals to the regional genetics service can also come from specialist doctors like obstetricians, paediatricians, and oncologists.

Do I need genetic testing?

If you or your partner suffer from a genetic illness, or have a family history of a hereditary disease, and are concerned about passing this disease on to your future child, then a genetic test may be the right choice for you. Choosing to undergo a genetic test is a major decision, and one that will have long lasting consequences regardless of what you decide to do. Because of this it is recommended that you seek the help of a professional genetics counsellor in deciding whether or not to go ahead with a screening.

The NHS genetics service has the benefit of being tightly regulated, which is why many people opt for a genetic test from the National Health Service as opposed to from a private firm.

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