This is quite the hot button topic lately, but I think it’s a topic that we’re absolutely blessed to be able to discuss. As a nursing student who loves learning about everything that’s available to us in the medical field now, I’m sure you can guess my opinion on the topic. I think it’s absolutely amazing how far science has developed and I think it’s amazing that we’re able to do this nowadays. I know their are many ethical issues and feelings attached to genetic testing and of course I respect both opinions. I’ve always been on “on the fence” kind of a person, so I completely understand the worries some may have about this testing.
If you haven’t heard much about genetic testing, it’s done on blood or other body tissue to determine if any genetic disorders are present. Genetic testing can be performed on unborn babies (think amniocentesis), determine whether you’re a carrier for a disease you could pass to your unborn children, embryos can be screened before insemination, be a diagnostic factor for those with symptoms of a certain disease or even help decide the appropriate dosage of medication for a specific person. It’s truly incredible, isn’t it? This process has advanced so much that you can actually perform genetic testing on yourself or even your spouse (talk about a fun Friday night, right?) in the comfort of your own home! With 23andMe you can purchase a genetic testing kit for less than $100 that will tell you your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. And it also helps you discover your ancestry. I think this is the perfect option for those who have been adopted and don’t know what their familial past holds or for all those European mutts like myself that know they’re a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but don’t know all the specifics. All it takes is a simple saliva test for you to explore your 4,600,000,000,000,000 strands of DNA and all 46 chromosomes. It just blows my mind!
Now here’s a question for you. Would you have genetic testing done on yourself? The two questions you must really ask yourself before you answer that first question however, is are you ready for the results and can you handle the results. What if you found out you were a carrier for a life-threatening disease or a disease that could severely debilitate the life of your future children? Would that change your opinion on reproducing? It’s really a lot to think about. What if discovered you had the BRCA genes and had the potential to develop breast cancer later in your life? Would you have a preventative double masectomy like Angelina Jolie?
Would I want genetic testing done? While I think it’s truly incredible and I’m amazed that science has come so far, I’m not really sure. Cory and I have debated this topic on a number of occasions and so far the only answer I’ve been able to come up with is: “I don’t know.” One day I may be ready for those results, but until then I will remain blissfully unaware because I truly believe that you have to be 110% ready to read what those results may hold.
Now you way in. Would you be open to genetic testing? Have you had it done before or know someone who has?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.