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Pregnancy and genetic disease

Q: How can we find out whether or not our child will be born with a genetic disease or condition? 

A: The best source to help you find out whether or not you may have a child that is affected with a genetic disease or condition is your doctor.

If you are not yet pregnant, blood tests (genetic tests) are available for certain inherited diseases. Potential parents can be tested to tell whether or not they carry a gene that is associated with a disease that may be passed on to their children. For example, a genetic test exists for a disorder called cystic fibrosis. If you are already pregnant and you are worried about passing a disease to your child, some tests can be done before the baby is born.

Keep in mind that tests are not yet available for all of the genes or all of the potential diseases that exist. Your doctor will help you decide which tests are right for you as a couple based on several factors. These factors include ethnicity, your family's medical history, and other factors he or she feels are important to consider for both of you.

If your doctor does decide with you that genetic testing for a disease is the right thing to do, your doctor and perhaps a genetic counselor can review your test results. They can then tell you what chances you have of passing these genes on to a child. Listed below are some online sources that may be helpful to you.

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