Preconception genetic carrier screening can help end the cycle of inheritable genetic illnesses
Everyone wants to welcome a healthy baby, but sometimes inheritable genetic illnesses can interfere. Thankfully, preconception genetic carrier screening can help identify whether you or your partner carry a genetic condition that you could pass to your children. The Fertility Center of Las Vegas (FCLV) offers carrier screening through Invitae, which allows you and your doctor to select the best testing panel for your situation.
Our Las Vegas fertility doctors recommend that all patients consider carrier screening. This is true even if you and your partner don’t have a known family history of inheritable genetic illness. It’s not uncommon for patients to realize that they carry one of these illnesses when they have a baby with the condition. This situation can occur when two asymptomatic carriers have a child together. The simple act of getting carrier screening can give you the information you need to make the best family-building plans for you.
What is preconception genetic carrier screening?
This type of carrier screening can help you and your doctor determine whether you carry a gene for a certain genetic disorder.
- Preconception means this test occurs before you conceive.
- Carrier means your cells contain the gene for a specific inheritable illness.
- Screening means this test can determine whether you carry this condition, even if you don’t have symptoms.
The testing process is very simple. You only need to provide a blood or saliva sample.
Our Las Vegas fertility doctors recommend that patients get preconception genetic carrier screening before they conceive (or start fertility treatments). Doing so gives you valuable information about the genetic health of you and your partner that you can use to make decisions about starting or growing your family.
What inheritable genetic illnesses can carrier screening identify?
The Invitae carrier screening that our Las Vegas fertility doctors use offers three different tests.
- The Invitae Core Carrier Screen can screen for three disorders.
- You can screen for 46 genetic illnesses with the Invitae Broad Carrier Screen.
- The Invitae Comprehensive Carrier Screen can screen for 288 genetic illnesses.
All three tests can screen for cystic fibrosis, fragile X syndrome and spinal muscular atrophy. However, other tests can identify genetic illnesses like Canavan syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, Tay-Sachs disease and many others.
Your FCLV doctor will discuss the different types of screenings with you and your partner. Together, you will determine which one is right for you and your family.
What the results mean about inheritable genetic illnesses?
After you undergo Invitae testing, your preconception genetic carrier screening results will be available in approximately 10-21 days. Your report will show that you are either positive or negative for each genetic illness that the screening covered.
- A positive result means that you carry a specific genetic disorder. This typically doesn’t affect your health, but it does increase your odds of having a child with this disorder.
- A negative result means you do not carry a specific genetic disorder.
If you and/or your partner carry one or more inheritable genetic illnesses, your doctor can refer you to a certified genetics counselor. This person can explain your results in a way that can help you make family-building decisions.
For example, if you discover that you and your partner are carriers for cystic fibrosis, you can opt to do in vitro fertilization (IVF) with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). When used together, these fertility treatments help ensure that your doctor only transfers embryos that do not have or carry the genetic illness.
You can also use an egg or a sperm donor who doesn’t carry the disorder, or you can opt to not have biological children and instead adopt.
Our Las Vegas fertility doctors realize these decisions aren’t easy. However, you don’t have to make them alone. Our entire team and a genetic counselor can give you the information you need and support you in making decisions about your future family.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about how carrier screening can help you achieve your family-building goals.