Genetic Tests During Pregnancy: Do They Bring Peace or Stress?

Genetic testing during pregnancy is a recent phenomenon; the generation of our mothers usually have no idea what tests their daughters, i.e., us, go to during pregnancy and what it is necessary for. 

It is not a genetic test but rather a panel of several consecutive and complementary examinations which detect congenital disabilities in the baby.

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Some examinations are pretty popular among mothers, while others are rather embarrassing. In the first and second third of pregnancy, future mothers can have a blood test and a follow-up ultrasound. 

There are four examinations, each with different accuracy and specificity. The values ​​of biochemical indicators are monitored in the blood, and the risk of congenital disabilities is determined together with the ultrasound results.

TO SING OR TO BE DAMNED?

Many questions revolve around these tests, and there is a heated discussion among the mothers. But cannot condemn them, cannot blame them. If all results do not work out perfectly, there is an increased risk that the child will have a congenital disability. 

Parents stressed out by unpleasant news usually interpret the information as waiting for the affected child. In understandable stress, they are waiting for another examination result, usually amniotic fluid.

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But what seems inhumanly stressful to some can save a baby’s life. For example, to six-year-old Janicka today: “During pregnancy tests, our doctors discovered a relatively serious heart defect in our Janicka,” recalls her mother. 

“Such news was a total shock to my husband and me. Fortunately, it was possible to operate on the defect and save the daughter. We chose a maternity hospital where they were able to perform a complex heart operation right after birth and thus save Janicka’s life. “

Tests in Renata’s pregnancy provided a choice: “I was twenty-five when I was expecting my first child. I was young, carefree, and even more shocked when my blood tests failed. The risk of disability was relatively high. It must be a false alarm, and I calmed down. 

I searched the internet, and my mothers often wrote in discussions that everything turned out well for them. It wasn’t like that for me. Unfortunately, taking amniotic fluid showed that the baby has Down syndrome. 

I was not ready to raise a disabled child at that age and chose to terminate the pregnancy. If it weren’t for the genetic tests, the baby would probably have been born, and my life would go entirely differently. “

ISN’T ALL GOLD?

More and more available are tests examining the susceptibility to various diseases. These are genetic tests in the true sense of the word; DNA is tested directly. Even these tests are not black and white, and it is good to approach them with caution.

The test for a mutation causing breast cancer can also be performed in our country; in the indicated case, a doctor will recommend it, but it is also offered by some private laboratories, where anyone can buy it. 

But the question is, what about such information. Do I want to know that I will develop cancer one day? Some of us do and would be willing to undergo a similar operation to Angelina Jolie. Others will prefer regular check-ups and do not want to know about the burden.

The situation is different with the transmission of hereditary diseases or tests for an innate tendency to form blood clots. Such information is more of a preventive nature, and their knowledge can be beneficial. It will help prevent unnecessary but often severe complications.

As in the previous case, there will be people who like to have everything tested and others who do not want to know anything and live more peacefully in ignorance. Neither option is good or bad; everyone has to decide for themselves.

THE TEST IS JUST LIKE THAT

Relatively harmless and without question marks, genetic testing is, let’s say, more for fun. Even in our country, private laboratories have started to offer various testing of origins, testing children for multiple talents, sports, music, and the like or addictions.

Abroad, the offer is much more comprehensive, but even the distance is not an obstacle; the genetic material taken from saliva can be taken at home and sent by post abroad, and the result will not affect it. 

The price of such tests does not even have to be dizzying so that they can be, for example, an unusual gift for loved ones. It is up to each person how a person handles information, whether he will follow it, and whether he cares about it at all.

We can say about genetic tests that they are a good servant but a bad master. As with all discoveries, it is good to approach them with caution and calmly say what I want to know and what I don’t. 

However, it is probably pleasant and good that we have no choice.

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