There are many unknowns when having a child. Everything from what color eyes your baby will have to what possible genetic disorders the baby could have is genetic. With modern technology it is much easier to get a snapshot of how genetics influence a baby early on.
Two different options exist. A couple can have genetic testing done prior to conceiving or going through fertility treatments. A couple may also opt to have a karyotype done after the embryo has implanted and the pregnancy is underway. Both have pros and cons associated with them and both are very personal choices.
Having early genetic testing done on the potential child’s parents can give the parents an indication of possible genetic diseases that run in their families and the odds a child will inherit them. The testing is no guarantee one way or the other of what would happen, simply the odds. These tests can help when proceeding through IVF in selecting embryos that do not have genetic diseases that have high odds in a couple’s family, such as hemophilia or cystic fibrosis.
A karyotype is done after conception and collected in utero. A snapshot of the embryo’s chromosomes is then made and analysed in order to identify the sex and any genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities. What a couple decides to do with the results is very personal. The option to terminate a pregnancy exists for couples who feel that they cannot handle a child that has chromosomal irregularities or perhaps the couple simply wants the information to be better prepared for whatever lies ahead. These can include Down Syndrome or structural birth defects.
The simplest way to decide is ask yourself what a positive screening result would mean to you if you chose to get tested and how this would affect any future decisions. Knowing the answers to those questions will help guide you on if genetic testing is the right choice for you.