Should I consider prenatal testing for genetic disorders?

You may want to consider prenatal testing if your family history or ethnic group shows that your child might have a high risk of developing a genetic disorder. This testing could help you with preparation or reproductive decisions.  When some genetic disorders are diagnosed early, prenatal treatment, a customized delivery plan, and/or early treatment at birth may decrease disease complications. 

Learn more from Dr. Peter Hulick on behalf of NorthShore University about when to consider prenatal testing for genetic disorders.


There are two important questions to consider when considering prenatal testing for genetic disorders. First what is your risk for having a baby with a genetic disorder? Consider factors such as family history for the presence of known genetic disorders, personal obstetrical history such a repeated unexplained first trimester losses and the findings from screening procedures. The second question is – what will you do with the information from the prenatal testing? Some couples use the information to make decisions about continuing or terminating the pregnancy. Other couples enter into prenatal testing knowing they will not terminate the pregnancy, but want the information to seek prenatal treatment and to prepare for the birth of a child with a genetic disorder. Because genetic disorders are found within families the decision to have prenatal testing for genetic disorders may have implications beyond the couple to the larger extended family unit. This is a difficult decision and needs to be made by the woman/couple based on the context of their individual situation and beliefs and within a supportive and caring environment.

Continue Learning about Genetic Testing

FDA Approves First Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests
FDA Approves First Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests
On April 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized 23andMe, a genetic testing service, to release Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Ri...
Read More
What is a maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein triple-panel test?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
This prenatal screening test combines the reading of the alpha-fetoprotein test with two other b...
More Answers
What are the costs of testing for genetic disorders?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
The costs for testing for genetic disorders vary widely. The cost depends on -  type of test-  labor...
More Answers
What Is the DNA Economy?
What Is the DNA Economy?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.