The Pre-Conception Test

Our bodies are programmed and run by a tiny molecule called DNA, which is organized into sets of instructions called genes. Genes dictate most everything about our physical bodies, our eye colour, skin tone, height, how we digest food, and basically anything else you can think of that goes on to keep us ticking. Because of how important genes are for our general health, it’s not surprising that when something damages their code, we suffer for it. Genetic defects are the basis of genetic disorders, which are familial and passed down from parent to child.

If you, your partner, or a family member suffer from a genetic illness, then you may be concerned about the chances of passing that illness down to your child. This can weigh heavily on any decision to start a family, or to have more than child. Such concerns are perfectly natural, and fortunately there are ways you can alleviate your concerns through pre-conception genetic testing. This particular test is designed to be performed prior to a pregnancy, and to thereby give parents to be accurate information about the chances of a disease being passed on to their child.

What does the pre-conception test cover?

What exactly the pre-conception test looks for does depend on the provider of the test. In most instances a pre-conception test will check for any diseases with a genetic element present in your family tree. These can be fairly common illnesses like diabetes and arthritis for instance, both of which have a strong genetic element.

Some pre-conception tests are performed to cover a wide range of potential genetic illnesses that you don’t have a family history for. These tests should be treated with some caution as they are largely offered by private services. Usually NHS genetic testing will be performed where there is a family history of a disease that justifies the process.

It is true however that defective genes can crop up without a family history of illness. This is rare and highly unusual, but is a consequence of our biology. Genes are copied billions of times in our life time as cells divide, and sometimes, despite the best efforts of our complex repair mechanisms, something can crop up and can, potentially, be passed down to children. This is rare but possible, and broad pre-conception screening is a good way to ensure the health and safety of your child if you are concerned about the possibility of genetic disease.

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